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It is now obvious that North Korean defectors are being widely
recognized and accepted as a legitimate issue by the international
community. According to the resolution unanimously passed by
the UN General Assembly last December, the UN special rapporteur
on human rights in North Korea has been urging the North Korean
government to correct its serious infringement of human rights
and to allow the rapporteur entry into the country to investigate
human rights there.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government still holds to its official
position that there are no North Korean refugees in China and
that all North Korean defectors in China are nothing more than
illegal immigrants. The Chinese authorities are still arresting
these people and forcibly returning them to North Korea where
they are subjected to severe punishment, including public execution
in some cases.
LFNKR is now observing that North Koreans who flee into China
are spreading into more widespread areas. In addition to such
big cities as Yanji, Changchun, Jilin, Harbin, Beijing, Tianjin,
Shanghai, Canton, and Hangzhou, defectors are now being found
in other areas. These include not only the three northeast
provinces, but six others as well: Shandong province, Zhejiang
province, Hebei province, Henan province, Neimenggu province,
and Yunnan province.
LFNKR estimates that North Korean defectors currently in China
now number over 100,000. Our most conservative estimates suggest
that women account for 60 percent of the total. The human trafficking
business between China and North Korea is such a thriving industry
that any female North Korean defector who does not fall victim
to human traffickers is an exception. Since North Korean defectors
are “illegal immigrants,” fly-by-night brokers
victimize North Korean women with pleasant promises for a safe
place or a job. The true aim of such brokers, however, is to
cheat the women of any money they have, then sell them. It
is important to note that victims of the human trafficking
cannot sue for redress since they are “illegal immigrants.” It
is common to see these victims being sold and resold, and in
many cases, deliberately impregnated so that the babies can
also be sold. This is a cattle business.
By the end of June 2007, more than 11,000 North Korean defectors
had escaped from China and reached South Korea via third countries.
More than 1,000 reached South Korea during the first half of
2007 alone. Of these defectors, about one-third used routes
that passed through Laos, Burma and Thailand. During 2007,
the South Korean government is expected to receive and protect
2,000 more North Koreans.
Although the Japanese government has not officially disclosed
any specific number, LFNKR estimates that about 170 North Korean
defectors have settled in Japan since 1998.
The US government has accepted 31 North Korean defectors since
the North Korean Human Rights Act was established in 2004.
Those 31 defectors settled in California. By the end of 2007,
20 more are expected to arrive in the US.
During the last fiscal year, LFNKR helped xx (two-digit) North
Korean refugees settle in third countries, while we helped
x (one-digit) refugees settle in Japan.
of Major Activities
|| Rescue activities for North Korean refugees and humanitarian
aid workers, including publicity to raise public awareness
|| Sept.-Oct. 2006: Investigated the human trafficking
25-28, 2006: Attended the international conference
hosted by the Korean-American Christian Association.
30-Oct. 1, 2006: Set up the LFNKR Booth at the Global
Festival held in Tokyo.
11: Participated in a talk show and the screening of “Seoul
Train” hosted by LiNK at Blue Wave Inn in Tokyo.
23: Presented a proposal to Kanagawa Prefectural Government
and Yokohama City on the abductees issue and the settlement
of North Korean refugees in Japan. The proposal was
prepared jointly with the Kanagawa Branch of the National
Association for Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North
24: Submitted a request for enacting the Japanese version
of the North Korean Human Rights Law to Ichiro Aizawa,
Committee Chairperson of the Liberal Democratic Party,
and Hiroshi Nakai, Chairperson of the Commission on
Countermeasures against Abduction, of the Democratic
2, 2006: Presented a speech on North Korean human rights
at Kawahito (Lawyers for Human Rights) lecture meeting,
with testimony of two North Korean defectors.
17, 2006: Helped Ms. Sandra Fahy carry out human rights
investigation, interviewing North Korean defectors.
29, 2006: Choi Yong-hun, a South Korean humanitarian
aid worker who was arrested and imprisoned for almost
4 years for attempting to help North Korean refugees
was released from the Chinese prison. It was found
that he had been psychologically affected by the ongoing
abuse during his imprisonment.
10, 2006: Hosted events for North Korean Human Rights
Awareness Week at Saitama Art Theater. Dec. 12, 2006:
Participated in the international conference held at
JICA international conference hall.
17, 2006: Spoke on North Korean human rights and abduction
at the meeting hosted by Hiroshima Branch of National
Association for the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by
24-28, 2007: Joined the mission to investigate the
current situation of North Korean refugees being detained
5, 2007: Discussed the human rights situation of North
Korean refugees with Mr. Christian Whiton, US Deputy
Special Envoy for Human Rights in North Korea.
6, 2007: Lectured on the North Korean refugee issue
at Rotary Club, Hidaka City, Saitama Prefecture.
O.March 19, 2007: Lectured at the study session for “White paper on North
Korean Human Rights” hosted by the Tokyo Bar Association.
27, 2007: Interviewed, in Laos, a North Korean defector
who wished to settle in Japan. Initiated an operation
to rescue three North Korean orphans, interviewing
them at Vientiane jail. On April 17, LFNKR held a press
conference at Tokyo Foreign Correspondents’ Club
of Japan to focus attention on the three NK orphans
31, 2007: Discussed, at the Cabinet Office, a written
proposal on the human rights and return of North Korean
28-31, 2007: Attended the general meeting of IPCNKR.
Hosted a dinner meeting with former foster children
safety and protecting North Korean refugees
the need for more protection, LFNKR added new shelters,
namely, JAS-01, JRD-02, JRD-03, JYS-01, JSH-01, LSY-01,
while discontinuing shelter JR-01.
500 sets of winter clothing and 200 sets of summer clothing.
Supplied food for 1,000 people (50 tons). This equals
500 grams per person per day. Helped 5 North Korean defectors
who decided to go back to North Korea, by providing them
with aid equivalent to 1,000RMB, which should cover their
living expenses for a year.
LFNKR achieved 90 percent of its goal for supplying 300 family medicine kits
to needy people in North Korea through its three hubs located near the border
between North Korea and China. In North Korea, the LFNKR supply network has three
main relay points, namely, Musan, Hweryong, and Yusondong, to cover the neighboring
areas. Helped two North Korean defectors pay for medical treatments, one for
abortion of pregnancy resulting from rape and the other for injuries resulting
from torture in Hweryong. Both recovered and successfully escaped into third
To prepare for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government is further intensifying
its crackdown jointly with the North Korean government to block the inflow of
North Korean refugees. This is making it increasingly difficult to reach North
Korean orphans, whom it is our mission to protect under LFNKR’s education
about 20 North Korean children are being supported by
our education sponsorship plan. Many of these children
were born of Chinese men and North Korean defector females
who had been bought for the Chinese men. This is a new
issue – children with no nationality. When LFNKR
initiated the education sponsorship plan 8 years ago,
most of them were “Kochebi” (street children)
whose parents had died from starvation. These days, however,
the Chinese fathers are often mentally or physically
handicapped adults whose parents or other relatives have
bought the “bride” to shift the burden of
care onto them. Such men are usually incapable of making
a living and disinterested in raising children. As a
result, large numbers of the children are abandoned.
Many of them have reached ages when they should be attending
February 2007, LFNKR established a new shelter, JRD-02,
to support four new foster children.
North Korean defectors settle in Japan
This year, operations to help North Korean defectors escape to and settle in
third countries went smoothly. Among the defectors who can neither go back to
North Korea nor stay in China, LFNKR gave priority to those facing imminent danger.
We helped a total of 26 North Korean defectors reach South Korea. Four were through
UNHCR, 12 via Thailand, and 10 via Laos. Two others settled in Japan.
addition, LFNKR is currently supporting three North Korean
defectors who are are in the process of settling in Japan.
We have a need for more volunteers to help them learn
Japanese, find places to live, find jobs, etc.
and enhancing activities in the international society
By inviting NGO members from other countries as well as Ms. Fumiko Saiga, Ambassador
in Charge of Human Rights, LFNKR played a leading role in the international conference
held to mark the North Korean Human Rights Awareness Week. The Week was established
by Japan's North Korean Human Rights Law. A new international aspect was added
when members of the Japanese Branch of the Federation for a Democratic China
and from the Kachin Women’s Association of Burma attended at the conference
has made progress in adding new human resources,
including staff members whose mother tongues are Chinese,
Korean, and English. This is necessary for carrying out
successful rescue activities. In addition to the already-established
international cooperation network, LFNKR is fostering
stronger relationships with other bodies, including think-tanks,
a European medical NGO, and the US State Department's
section involved in refugee issues.
has also begun a policy of accepting volunteer interns
from abroad. After accepting one volunteer this fiscal
year, LFNKR is expecting to receive another volunteer
soon from England.
for enhancing awareness
As part of its activities for raising awareness of the North Korean refugee issue,
LFNKR participated in the One World Festival held in Osaka and the Global Festival
held in Tokyo. A meeting was also held to report on the international conference
held in Bergen, Norway.
a financial foundation
In the last fiscal year, 35 people joined our Monthly Donation Program, adding
about 150,000 yen ($1,300) to available funds. LFNKR's goals require at least
double that amount to assure stable rescue activities.