Cover image from HRNK's publication, "Lives for Sale: Personal Accounts of Women Fleeing North Korea to China."
As we observe World Refugee Day, North Korea's slow motion refugee crisis continues. Almost 33,000 North Korean escapees, about 80 percent of them women, have resettled in South Korea. But not all of the North Korean refugees have been as fortunate. Denied protection or safe haven, North Korean refugees in China, in particular women and children, are most vulnerable.
On World Refugee Day, China should be reminded of the obligations it assumed under the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Additional Protocol. If forcibly repatriated, North Korean refugees, most of them women, face a credible fear of persecution, as they are interrogated, beaten, tortured, imprisoned and even executed by North Korean authorities. Thus, China should recognize they are refugees sur place and grant them access to the process leading to acquiring political refugee status instead of forcibly repatriating them to conditions of danger.
Ultimately, it is the North Korean regime that holds the key to resolving the North Korean refugee crisis. If it invested in the human security of its population instead of the tools of death that threaten regional peace and security, fewer North Koreans might be forced to leave. If the North Korean regime decriminalized leaving the country without approval, there would no longer be a North Korean refugee crisis. If the North Korean regime began observing the fundamental human rights of Koreans living in the North, that would be a first step down the road of peace, prosperity, reconciliation and unification of all Koreans.
The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), a non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C., has launched a report titled North Korea’s Long-term Prison-labor Facility Kyo-hwa-so No. 1, Kaech’on. This report is part of a comprehensive long-term project undergone by HRNK to use satellite imagery and survivor testimony to shed light on human suffering in North Korea. This study combines former prisoner testimony collected in 2019 with declassified satellite imagery
THE REPORT IS EMBARGOED UNTIL 12:01 AM WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2019.
THE REPORT IS EMBARGOED UNTIL 12:01 AM FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2019THE REPORT IS EMBARGOED UNTIL 12:01 AM FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2019. Lost Generation: The Health and Human Rights of North Korean Children, 1990–2018 is a nearly thirty-year study monitoring the health and human rights conditions of North Korean children. “Health” is defined by the World Health Organization as a “state of complete physical, mental, and social well being, and not merely the absence of dis
EMBARGOED UNTIL 12:01 A.M. EST WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2019.