NK Refugees Being Overlooked

Refugees Overshadowed by 6-Party Talks

The Six-Party talks in Beijing to discuss the elimination of nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula are dangerously close to overshadowing the struggles of five North Korean refugees, whose stories are being dwarfed and in danger of being forgotten. On July 27th, LFNKR received information regarding five North Koreans now seeking to be declared refugees. 

At 11:30 am on Wednesday, 27 July, 2005, a group of five North Korean refugees entered a Japanese residential quarter in Tentien, China, where a Japanese international school is located. According to reports, the five climbed the fence surrounding the compound but were arrested by Chinese Security police 50 meters from the school. The five refugees are now in the custody of Chinese Security Police and are being investigated.

They are three North Korean women, ages 52, 48 and early 30s. Accompanying one of the women were her son, age 22 and daughter age 14. The family of three had defected from North Korea only a week earlier.

We hereby emphatically urge:

  1. That UNHCR Beijing intervene in this matter to protect and grant these five North Koreans the status of refugee, and that the UNHCR head office actively supervise its Beijing office as it carries out this assignment.
  2. That the Chinese government respect the principle of non-refoulement and refrain from repatriating these five to North Korea where they face high probability of severe punishment and persecution.
  3. That the South Korean government immediately extend acceptance of these five North Koreans and urge the Chinese government to hand them over to the South Korean government.

Kato Hiroshi
Secretary General
Life Funds for North Korean Refugees