North Korean Defectors and Diversification

When I volunteered at Hangyeore during the summer internship with the Ministry of Unification, I went into the program knowing very little of the history and the political situation revolving around the people who defected from North Korea other than the reality that the difficulty of leaving North Korea to find asylum in South Korea often required the defectors to spend a long time in third countries. However, as I spent time in the school without enough understanding of the Korean language to find out more about the children or other people like them who had defected from North Korea, I felt that it was important to examine further the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics and motives for escape from North Korea. In this article, I intend to share what results I found because I am sure there are many others like me who have only a general idea about the situation with defectors but would like to find out more details to better understand how to address the economic, social, and psychological adjustment of the defector community in South Korea. Continue reading

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North Korean Refugees in the United Kingdom

Big Ben (Photo Credit: Mohammad Albeloushi/Flickr)

With their number increasing, many North Korean refugees are spreading all over the world after escaping through China and Southeast Asian countries. Many of them, about 25,000 as of 2010, settle in South Korea, where the government supports them throughout their first few years in their new homes. About 100,000 to 200,000 North Koreans are estimated to be in China, waiting to go to a different country, as they will be repatriated to North Korea if the Chinese police arrest them. They also go to different parts of the world: they go to the United States, other Asian countries, and Western Europe. Continue reading