Friday, October 14, 2011

China Insists On Repatriating North Korean Refugees, Some May Face Public Execution

10/15/2011 North Korea (TC) - The Chinese government has told South Korea that it is determined to repatriate 20 North Korean defectors who were arrested in Shenyang and elsewhere last month. Seoul asked Beijing to let them go to South Korea, but Beijing said this would encourage an unmanageable flood of copycats. China signed up to the UN Refugee Convention in 1982. Article 1 of the convention classifies a refugee as a person who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or… is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country".

Article 33, Clause 1 stipulates that signatories of the convention must not send refugees to places where they are under threat of death and also bans forced repatriations.

If China now sits face to face with the U.S. to discuss global political and economic issues, it is also bound to abide by the UN convention and cooperate with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to investigate whether North Korean defectors are indeed refugees or criminals on the run. Once they are found to be refugees, China must offer them humanitarian treatment.

The world is fully aware of the fact that North Korea defectors who are sent back face imprisonment in political prison camps and beatings, brutal torture and even public execution. China is probably more aware than any other country of such abuses. The North Korean Human Rights Resolution which the UN General Assembly has adopted each year since 2005 also sheds light on the torture and executions of North Korean defectors. But China continues to send North Korean defectors back, citing a border treaty it signed with Pyongyang in 1998(Source).

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