We are a group of seven North Korean women who have defected
from North Korea at separate times, risking our lives in a desperate
bid for freedom rather than to wait in passive resignation for
either starvation or imprisonment in our homeland. We have arrived
in Thailand today after a perilous trek of thousands of kilometers
through China and Laos where our lives and freedom were in jeopardy
at every turn. We are refugees under the provisions of the 1951
Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, as recognized
by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Immediately upon our arrival in Thailand, we are "presenting
ourselves without delay to the authorities" of the government
of the Kingdom of Thailand, a member of Executive Committee of
UNHCR. We do so to seek humanitarian assistance from the Kingdom
of Thailand in light of the Article 31 of the abovementioned
Convention, which prohibits imposing penalties on refugees on
account of "their illegal entry or presence in the territory." Our
confidence resides in the King and People of Thailand for their
long and internationally respected history of humanitarianism
to refugee applicants. We sincerely thank them in advance for
their vital humanitarian assistance to us in our plight.
Today we stand before you, driven together by a common desperation
in the face of mortal dangers and vulnerability, to seek your
authorization for movement without restriction and swift travel
to a country that will accept us. We find it necessary to conceal
our identities for fear of cruel repercussions to our loved ones
who remain in North Korea. For the same reason, we respectfully
request that our identities be not disclosed. Individual profiles
are attached for your reference and kind consideration.
The single flame of hope that remains for us is a heartfelt
appeal on our knees and with tears to the King and People of
Thailand. Thank you, sir.
Note: To protect the safety of family members
still living in North Korea, names of the 7 refugees have been