[UPI] South Korea calls on China to stop repatriating North Korean refugees

7 Dec 2023

On August 16, UPI published an article highlighting global concerns and denunciation over the imminent forced repatriation of North Korean escapees by Chinese authorities. At a press conference jointly organized by NKDB and South Korean Assemblyperson Choe Jaehyeong, South Korean Unification Minister Kim Young-ho and Assemblyperson Choi Jaehyeong urged that Beijing should respect the human rights of North Korean escapees and stop forcibly sending them, which is in compliance with international norms and standards.

The article featured NKDB researcher Su Bobae, who assessed that repatriated escapees are highly likely to face torture and other forms of serious human rights violations. It also cited numbers from NKDB's Unified Human Rights Database, which has accumulated nearly 86,000 cases of North Korean human rights violations and over 55,000 individuals related to those cases as of August 2023.

A total of 8,148 cases of repatriation to North Korea have been documented by Seoul-based rights group Database Center for North Korean Human Rights, or NKDB, which co-hosted the press event.

Of these cases, 98% were sent back from China, NKDB researcher Su Bobae said.

Defectors are specifically targeted for torture when they are returned to North Korea, Su said, with those who engaged in religious activities or had contact with South Koreans singled out for harsher punishments including execution.

"After a four-year hiatus since the COVID-19 pandemic, it is evident that North Korean authorities will apply even more severe punishments to escapees," she said.

You can read the full article on UPI website by clicking HERE.