Tuesday, May 23, 2006

UNHCR pledges greater support for North Koreans

This month, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that it will step up efforts to protect and support North Korean refugees in China and Mongolia.

In particular, the UNHCR urged the Chinese government to prepare a proper law covering the refugee issue and strengthen its legal protection and aid for North Korean defectors applying for asylum.

High Commissioner Antonio Guterres said that although most of the defectors in China are illegal aliens who crossed the border not for political reasons, but for hunger and a better life, they shouldn’t be repatriated to North Korea.

Guterres further stated that the Korean government has agreed to accept all of defectors who initially wanted to head for U.S. but were denied access in the status determination process by the U.S. government. Guterres said, “The Korean government and the UNHCR agreed to make sure no defectors in Southeast Asia are abandoned without protection.”


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