Reports have reached our organization
that a 20-year-old North Korean defector was shot and killed on
2 April when a group of 24 defectors were stopped while attempting
to cross the border from China into Mongolia.
Six members of the group, all men,
succeeded in reaching Mongolia. The 17 defectors arrested include
a 2-year-old child and a woman six months pregnant. The defectors
have begun a hunger strike, insisting on relocation to a third
A South Korean government official was
told on 16 April that the Chinese authorities were attempting
to arrest the 24 North Korean defectors, and when one man in his
twenties tried to seize a weapon, he was shot and subsequently
died at hospital while undergoing treatment.
LFNKR is pleased to learn that
the Chinese government has expressed willingness to send the 17
defectors to South Korea if they wish. However, we were shocked
by the fact that a well-armed Chinese border guard on horseback
actually shot an unarmed North Korean refugee who was trying to
leave China to seek freedom. We consider the act of the border
guard inhumane and inexcusable.
LFNKR has repeatedly reminded China that
it is signatory to the UN Convention relating to the Status of
Refugees of 1951. In fact, on 12 December 2001, in Geneva, Vice
Foreign Minister Wang Guangya of China declared at the 50th anniversary
celebration of the 1951 Convention that this landmark international
law is the "Magna Carta" of refugee law, and that it
is a candle light of hope in the dark for the helpless refugees.
Further, he stated that the Convention serves as a guide to people
who are engaged in humanitarian work of protecting and assisting
There is much evidence, such
as the resolution on North Korea passed by the United Nations
Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) on 15 April this year, indicating
that the North Koreans fleeing their own country deserve to qualify
for refugee status. The resolution raises serious concerns over
human rights and, most significantly, it establishes a UN Special
Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea.
Refer to the full text of the
15 April UNCHR Resolution at http://www.northkoreanrefugees.com/un-resolution1.pdf
LFNKR strongly urges China to review and
improve its current policy toward North Korean refugees so that
it can live up to the Refugee Convention and observe the spirit
of the Olympics when it serves as the host country for the 2008
Olympic Games in Beijing.
LFNKR believes that the recent resolution
on North Korea adopted by UNCHR further strengthens the
international framework under which official refugee status may
be afforded North Korean refugees.
However, we are not there yet. We
urge everyone with an interest in this issue to redouble your
efforts to help win protection of these forsaken people.