Saturday, September 18, 2010

Why North Korea defectors become refugees a second time

More and more North Korean defectors who danced with death to flee famine and oppression for a new life of freedom in South Korea are migrating to other countries in search of jobs. A growing number of North Korean defectors who have obtained South Korean citizenship are now seeking false refugee status in Europe, causing a diplomatic predicament for Seoul.

Some 1,000 North Koreans have sought asylum in Britain since 2004, of which 70 percent have been discovered to have South Korean citizenship. Norway, too, has caught 20 fake asylum-seekers from North Korea. The Foreign Ministry estimates some 600 North Koreans with South Korean citizenship have been kicked out of Britain and Norway and have nowhere to go.

Once in South Korea, defectors from North Korea are provided with housing, job training, education and health benefits to help them settle in the capitalist South Korean society. So their leaving suggests they fail to find a future in the South.

These defectors risked their lives to make it to South Korea in hopes of finding a better future. They probably tried their utmost to adapt. While most earn a living doing day-to-day labor, what pains them is contempt and neglect from South Korean society.

[JoongAng Daily]

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