Tuesday, October 13, 2009

North Korean refugees suffer discrimination and illness

Ko Kyung-bin calls on South Koreans to view North Korean refugees not merely as victims but also consider their bravery in risking their lives to escape the Stalinist country.

Ko Kyung-bin is the director of Hanawon, the government-run institution for North Korean refugees in Seoul.

Typically, common ailments among North Koreans now living in the South are dental disease and tuberculosis. In fact, half of the organization's budget is spent on dental work. Ko says they require false teeth because they have no molars due to malnutrition.

And only 45 percent of North Korean refugees find jobs after leaving Hanawon, some 20 percent requiring psychological treatment after leaving the institution.

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