In the News – Presidential aide urges efforts to save N. Korean defectors in China

In the News – Presidential aide urges efforts to save N. Korean defectors in China

SEOUL, March 6 (Yonhap) — A special aide to the South Korean president on Tuesday urged active efforts by the government to assist dozens of North Korean defectors in China who await deportation back to their communist homeland where they are likely to face harsh punishment.

Hyun In-taek, a special presidential aide for unification, also called for the early passage of a North Korean human rights act currently awaiting a vote by the country’s parliament.

“There need to be active measures (to save North Korean defectors) when these defectors may face severe punishment, including execution, should they be sent back to North Korea,” he said in a special lecture to the National Unification Advisory Council.

Earlier reports said some 30 North Koreans are currently in the custody of Chinese police and may soon be forced to return to their homeland.

China does not recognize North Korean defectors as refugees, treating them as economic migrants, and routinely has sweeps to detain North Korean escapees on Chinese soil in order to repatriate them.

“The issue of (helping) North Korean defectors is a matter of defending a universal cause,” Hyun, a former minister of unification, told the advisory group.

He also urged the National Assembly to quickly legislate the bill regarding North Korean human rights, noting that the United States and Japan implemented similar legislation in 2004 and 2006, respectively.

“It is a shame we, who are directly involved in the issue, are still unable to enact this law,” Hyun said.

Original article can be found here.


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