Saturday, October 24, 2009

Soon 20,000 former North Korean refugees will be living in South Korea

Hanawon, the government-run institution that trains and helps defectors settle in South Korea, celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. Up until 1998, a year before Hanawon opened, a grand total of 947 North Koreans had arrived to South Korea.

This year alone, more than 3,000 North Koreans are expected to arrive. By next year there will be 20,000 former North Korean refugees living in South Korea.

But 58.4 percent of defectors who have settled in the South still consider themselves North Koreans. Only 6.3 percent think of themselves as South Koreans. This is according to a recent survey of North Korean defectors completed by the Organization for One Korea.

Over 7 years, the number of unemployed defectors fell from 57.5 percent (2000) to 32.1 percent (2007), according to the Korea Peace Institute. But those with work do not have stable jobs, day labor accounting for 42.6 percent, as compared with only 9.2 percent of South Koreans eking out a living from day labor.

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