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9 North Korean Refugees Deported from Laos, Face Forced Repatriation to North Korea

May 29, 2013

After 17 days in Laotian detention, nine North Korean refugees including teenagers were deported to China on May 27 and almost certainly face repatriation to the North. The South Korean embassy failed to protect or even meet with the nine despite repeated requests. Meanwhile, North Korean authorities flew the nine to China. Below are photos of a press conference that several groups and activists including NKnet held in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Seoul at 12:30pm today.

Groups participating in the press conference and/or statement were:

– Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights
– Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights (NKnet)
– Open Radio for North Korea
– North Korea Strategy Center
– Radio Free Chosun
– Young Defector’s Alliance for North Korean Human Rights
– Refuge Pnan
– NAUH
– North Korean Intellectual Solidarity
– Justice for North Korea

Press coverage of the event:

Daily NK photos
May 29, 2013

Press reports about the 9 refugees:

Laos Hands 9 Defectors Over to N.Korea
Chosun Ilbo
May 29, 2013

“The Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights, a Seoul-based civic group that aids North Korean defectors, says South Korean embassy officials in Laos did not even meet the defectors once during their 18 days of internment in Laos.

“The defectors were taken to the southern Chinese city of Kunming on Monday afternoon. “Several people with North Korean diplomatic passports are on the move with the defectors,” said one source. ‘It appears that North Korean authorities are personally transporting them.’

“Traditionally strong ties between the two stone-age communist regimes may have played a major role in the handling of the defectors, but critics say the slow response of the South Korean embassy officials is also to blame.

“Since 90 percent of North Korean refugees pass through Laos, the incident may have a significant impact on future efforts to protect them.”

Laos sends nine young defectors back to China
Joongang Daily
May 29,2013

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