Proposed Action Plan
Funds for North Korean Refugees, NGO
The crackdown on North Korean refugees by both the Chinese and
North Korean governments has drastically cut the flow of North
Koreans into China, reducing it to levels below those of the
China's official position is that North Korean
refugees do not exist, a stance that blatantly ignores international
the Convention on the Status of Refugees, to which it is a signatory
nation. North Koreans who flee their country continue to face ruthless
repatriation, followed by severe punishment upon their return.
This includes being “disappeared,” sent to prison camps,
or publicly executed.
There are, however, signs that China’s policy of forced
repatriation could be influenced by international censure. China
appears currently to be “cleaning up internally” ahead
of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. And clearly the Chinese government
is cooperating with the North Korean government in the intensified
crackdown on defectors.
NGOs from around the world concerned with human rights in China
are calling for a boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympics if China
does not improve its human-rights record. For this reason relations
continue to be strained between human rights workers and the Chinese
Concerns of North Korean Refugees
The situation facing the vast majority of North Koreans entering
China is cause for concern. The continued sweeps for defectors
by Chinese regular and border police seems likely to increase,
in which case Chinese human-rights issues will be thrust into
the international spotlight.
We have received reports from our contacts in five separate sites
in North Hamgyong Province and the border area telling us that
the situation due to this year's floods in August is similar to
1996-97. During that period, large numbers of people died of starvation.
According to these reports, those who die of starvation on the
North Korean side of the border are not generally from that area,
but come from the interior. Huge death tolls due to starvation
are being reported in all areas except North Hamgyong Province
and Ryanggang Province.
Trafficking in North Korean Women
Human trafficking is a grave human rights risk facing North
Korean defectors. China still refuses to change its position
that defectors are guilty of “entering illegally” or “staying
illegally,” so North Korean women seeking a life of freedom
by entering China are almost certain to be sold illegally.
Most North Korean women who are trafficked are
bought by Chinese families for a son or other male family member
in farming and fishing
villages. In many cases these “husbands” are difficult
cases incapable of supporting their families, and are often either
mentally or physically handicapped, or simply irresponsible. Thus,
if the “bride” has children, then is forcibly repatriated
to North Korea, many of the husbands abandon the children. The
number grows yearly of such children, all of whom China denies
citizenship, making them stateless.
The children of North Korean mothers and Chinese
fathers should be given Chinese citizenship, and their primary
mothers—must be granted permission to stay in China legally.
However, the Chinese government uses their illegal status as justification
to forcibly repatriate the women with or without their children,
to North Korea where they face almost certain death.
A Rational Solution for the Chinese Government
We would like to propose a rational solution for the government's
We suggest that granting Chinese citizenship to the children of
North Korean mothers and Chinese fathers, and legalizing the stay
of these mothers so that they can raise their children, is the
bare minimum China should be doing.
We have received reports that in Yangqing, in Shenyang, Yanji
Autonomous Region, there are some cases of legalized status. There
is, however, no evidence that this has reached the level of the
Trafficking is a major issue, considering that
at the very minimum 60-70% of North Korean women fall prey to
it. In order to improve
the human rights situation in North Korea, increased international
cooperation is necessary to survey the extent of human rights abuses.
In addition, we will spare no effort to breathe life into Japan’s
North Korean Human Rights Law, and to facilitate the resettlement
in Japan of defectors from North Korea.
LFNKR's 2007-2008 ACTION PLAN:
Support of North Korean Refugees and
Assist as many North Korean refugees and victims of trafficking
as possible. Work for the release of jailed humanitarian workers
so that they may continue to work for the benefit of defectors.
2. Safety and Protection of North Korean Refugees
Build and maintain shelters as necessary. Distribute 500 sets
of summer and winter clothing. Provide 30 tons of rice-based
food aid, and be prepared to provide up to 40 tons if necessary.
Assist, financially and otherwise, North Korean defectors who
wish to return home.
3. Medical Assistance
Distribute 300 home medical kits. Subsidize hospital stays and
other treatment as needed.
4. Sponsorship Program
The number of school-age children born of North Korean mothers
and Chinese fathers is increasing. Although these children ought
to be granted Chinese citizenship and their mothers given permission
to reside in China, the Chinese authorities are arresting the
mothers, sometimes with their children, and forcefully repatriating
them. We must increase our efforts to help these children, whose
numbers are increasing, if last year's information is any guide.
It has been ten years since Life Funds started the sponsorship
program, and some of the first children in the program are now
reaching adulthood. Many of them continue to live in hiding in
China. Sadly, some have become victims of trafficking and seek
our assistance once more. The sponsorship program aims to aid these
former foster children as well.
5. Relocation and Settlement
Assist North Korean defectors who can neither return to North
Korea nor remain in China to reach safety via a third country.
Cooperate with relevant government agencies, NGOs, and the Mindan
North Korean Support Center to assist defectors who wish to settle
in Japan. Recruit volunteers to help with the settlement process.
Assist defectors through enrollment in Japanese-language schools
and night schools (junior-high school level).
6. Expansion and Development of International
Work to build and maintain networks of people committed to our
work. Participate in hearings relevant to human rights issues
in the European Parliament and the U.S. Congress, and continue
our lobbying efforts.
Develop and nurture personnel who are native speakers of Chinese,
Korean, and/or English. To the extent possible, accept intern(s)
to assist with our work.
7. Events and Seminars
Sponsor seminars for speakers, who may include defectors, visitors
to North Korea, and humanitarian aid workers, in order to increase
awareness of the issues.
Develop Life Funds' financial support network to be able to
continue the vital work we do. Continue the installment-payment
plan. Double our current base of supporters from 50 to 100.
9. Complete the Registered NPO Process
Complete, as soon as possible, the paperwork necessary for Life
Funds' becoming a registered NPO having full tax-deductible charity
status, to facilitate our fund raising work.