Monday, October 01, 2007

Another North Korean defector accepted by the U.S.

A North Korean defector has departed for the United States, becoming the latest refugee to be accepted by America under a 2004 law, [thanks in part to] South Korean activist Rev. Chun Ki-won, who helps North Korean defectors.

The latest refugee brings to 31 the number of North Koreans accepted in the U.S. since 2004 when U.S. President George W. Bush signed the North Korean Human Rights Act, which mandates assistance to refugees fleeing the North, according to Chun, who heads the Seoul-based missionary group Durihana Mission.

The U.S. has said it would accept about 50 North Korean defectors living in Thailand if they meet certain criteria, but the process is being delayed due to the lack of cooperation by the South Korean government, Chun said, citing an unnamed official in the U.S. State Department.

Separately, Chun said some North Korean defectors held in a Thai immigration facility complained of skin diseases as they have been staying in a cramped detention center that accommodates about 500 North Koreans — roughly twice normal capacity.

[Excerpted from International Herald Tribune]

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