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PRESS RELEASE: HRNK Calls on President Obama to Raise with President Xi Jinping of China the Protection of North Korean Refugees
June 04, 2013

Click here for the letter to Xi Jinping. 

The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), a non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C., calls on President Obama in his upcoming talks with President Xi Jinping, to urge China to halt the forcible repatriation of North Korean refugees.  Only last week, nine North Korean teenagers attempting to find their way to freedom were arrested in Laos and forcibly repatriated by China to North Korea, where they are certain to be subjected to persecution and punishment.

HRNK also takes the occasion of President Xi’s visit to the United States to release the text of a letter it sent to him May 7. The letter calls upon China to adopt a “new approach” toward North Koreans escaping into its country, one in line with China’s obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention and international human rights law.  

HRNK’s letter was  signed by The Honorable Winston Lord (former U. S. Ambassador to China and HRNK Board member), together with HRNK co-chairs Roberta Cohen (former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights) and Andrew Natsios (former USAID Administrator), and Greg Scarlatoiu, HRNK executive director. The organization is still hopeful of receiving a reply.
The letter called upon China to adhere to the fundamental refugee principle of non-refoulement and set up a refugee determination process for North Koreans in cooperation with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It called for new legislation incorporating China’s obligations under the Refugee Convention; and for a moratorium on deportations until China can ensure that North Koreans will not be returned to conditions of danger.  It called upon China to cooperate with other countries ready to admit North Koreans. It warned that “China’s continued deportations of North Koreans despite [international] appeals, and its collaboration with North Korea’s police in tracking down escapees, has cast an unfortunate shadow over the reputation of the People’s Republic.” The new President, it noted, had the opportunity to change this by embarking on a new policy based on "the rule of law."

HRNK was established in 2001 by a distinguished group of former U.S. government officials, Korea experts, and human rights and humanitarian specialists deeply concerned about the “grave, widespread and systematic human rights violations” reported in North Korea. It seeks to draw attention to human rights conditions in North Korea by publishing well-documented reports and papers, convening conferences, testifying at national and international fora, and seeking creative ways to end the isolation of the North Korean people. 

The letter addressed to President Xi Jinping is attached to this message. HRNK’s reports and more detailed information on our activities are available on HRNK’s website: www.hrnk.org

Contact: Greg Scarlatoiu, [email protected]; 202-499-7973


North Korea’s Long-term Prison-Labor Facility Kyo-hwa-so No. 1, Kaech’ŏn
Joseph S. Bermudez, Greg Scarlatoiu, Amanda M. Oh, & Rosa Park
Mar 25, 2020

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 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