Joint Assembly of International Lawmakers, NGOs

More Crackdowns in China

The Chinese government continues to intensify its crackdown on North Korean refugees, with an eye to eliminating them before the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Meanwhile, the South Korean government, the first you would expect to protect North Korean refugees, appears increasingly reluctant to accept them.

For example, the mass media widely reported that on June 8 that seven North Korean refugees had to seek refuge in Thailand’s Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam, because the South Korean Embassy there refused them entry.

South Korea Not Helping

LFNKR recently attempted to help three North Koreans, including one of our foster children, to escape from China.

Our team led these three to the South Korean embassy in a third country in Southeast Asia (we cannot specify for security reasons), but that embassy refused them protection.

The rescue team was forced to improvise, and had to take other measures to secure their safety. The change in plans resulted in much heavier costs in both time and money.

LFNKR is very concerned with the recent attitude of the South Korean government. It appears to be abandoning North Korean defectors, whom that government has officially claimed as its own people.

Disturbing developments like these make it all the more crucial for the international community to strengthen mutual ties and call for real measures to improve the plight of North Korean refugees.

Joint International Assembly of Lawmakers, NGOs

International solidarity is of utmost importance, and to encourage worldwide efforts, LFNKR is now preparing for the annual 3-day Joint Lawmaker/NGO Action Assembly to begin in Tokyo on Saturday, July 30.

This year, an organization of legislators from a number of countries will be adding their considerable political muscle to the cause of helping North Korean refugees.

IPCNKR (International Parliamentarians’ Coalition for the North Korean Refugees and Human Rights) will hold its 2nd general meeting on Sunday August 1, during the NGO Action Assembly.

See this page for more information about the IPCNKR group.

This joining of efforts is an important indicator of the growing concern around the world, and the groundswell of willingness to speak out and to act.

We believe that the joint meetings of legislators and NGO members from Japan and several nations abroad will help bring about practical measures to help North Korean refugees.

Joint Lawmaker/NGO Action Assembly Schedule:

July 30
– Events hosted by Japanese and Korean NGOs, including the personal stories of former foster children of LFNKR, who successfully reached South Korea

July 31
– Private screening of the award-winning documentary “Seoul Train” with Japanese subtitles (LFNKR coordinated this project with Jim Butterworth, the producer of “Seoul Train”). This is the film that Chinese authorities tried to discourage film festivals in several countries from screening. See the evidence of this attempted suppression.

The Seoul Train website is at

August 1
– IPCNKR panel discussion & presentations by NGOs To attend this part of the event, contact LFNKR for more details.

Refugees Need Summer Clothing

Lastly, LFNKR encourages people abroad to join our campaign to supply summer clothing to NK refugees hiding in China.

LFNKR currently has more than 10 clandestine shelters in China where we provide more than 300 refugees with necessary supplies.

As part of our strategy to shield them from the notice of the Chinese authorities, we supply new sets of summer clothing and winter clothing each year so that they can dress to blend in with the local people.

This summer, we still need to supply an additional 50 sets of summer clothing to the newest refugees. One set of clothing includes upper and lower garments, a pair of shoes, and underwear.

This costs about US $10. If you would like to donate to this effort, click here to visit our donation page.

With sincerest thanks,
Kato Hiroshi

Secretary General
Life Funds for North Korean Refugees

A-101 Nishi Kata Hyteru
2-2-8 Nishi Kata, Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo, Japan 113-0024
Tel / Fax +81-3-3815-8127