Seoul Plans UN Appeal for North Korean Refugees in China

Posted February 21st, 2012 at 4:10 am (UTC-5)
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South Korea says it will raise the issue of North Korean defectors detained in China at a United Nations meeting next week.

A Foreign Ministry spokesperson says the government will go before the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva to pressure Beijing not to repatriate several North Koreans who fled their homeland. About 30 North Korean defectors were captured by Chinese authorities earlier this month.

South Korean human rights activists gathered in front of the Chinese Embassy in Seoul Monday, where they heard a moving appeal from Soh Kyung-suk, co-chairman of a group called Christian Social Responsibility.

“If you listen to the screams of our North Korean defector brothers, you cannot listen to them without tears welling in your eyes. Therefore, if we stay silent and do nothing while watching them being dragged to the execution ground, we are living inhumane lives.”

Soh said it is not possible to stand by while innocent North Korean defectors are carried off to likely execution.

Human rights activists agree that once repatriated, the defectors face harsh punishment and even death.