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LinkAsia | Apr 20
North Korea has demanded an apology from the South after anti-North Korean protesters took to the streets of Seoul to deface the DPRK flag and burn...
Now there's a growing concern that the lives of North Korean migrants detained in China are in danger. China's policy is to send them back to North Korea. And what's worse is that Kim Jung-un has declared that refugees who flee during the 100-day mourning period of his father's death would be executed, along with their families. MBC reports on the efforts being made to encourage China to change its policy towards North Korean refugees.
Young North Korean defectors gather at the Embassy of the People's Republic of China. They're appealing for an end to repatriation of North Korean refugees.
North Korean Defector:
If they're sent back to North Korea, they will never see their families again. Please help them, please.
Together with the North Korean defectors, celebrities raise their voices, since they can easily influence public opinion.
Cha In-pyo, South Korean Actor:
If they are sent back to North Korea, defectors, as well as their families, will face execution.
The Korean Freedom Federation is calling on China to stop its policy of repatriating defectors and urges China to take humanitarian steps if it wants to become influential and powerful alongside America. Also, a member of the Forward Liberty Party, Park Sun-young, went on a hunger strike. South Korea's government is considering bringing up this issue of North Korean defectors to the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
Cho Byung-jae, South Korean Foreign Ministry Spokesman:
We urge all countries to follow the principle of non-refoulement and the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
However, it is not easy for the UNHRC to make the defectors issue an agenda item. That's because China insists that North Korean defectors are not refugees, but just cross the border illegally for economic reasons. China also has to maintain a special relationship with North Korea. Although the South Korean government has actively addressed the issue of North Korean defectors, it's been difficult to resolve the problem through international organizations. But South Korea's government will keep on making efforts to have bilateral discussions with China on the issue.