Thursday, January 19, 2006

Norway's heart for refugees

It is heartening to hear that Norway has admitted two North Korean refugees. It is particularly encouraging given the fact that nowadays, when it seems the entire international community talks about human rights conditions in the communist country, few actually take any action to alleviate the plight of its citizens.

In contrast, few of the vocal critics of the North's human rights abuses grant asylum or refugee status to North Korean deserters.

Take the United States for instance. Washington has received applications for either political asylum or refugee status from 13 North Koreans, including seven during fiscal 2005 that ended September. It rejected them all, as it did the six previous applications

The Norwegian government's welcome move to accept two North Koreans should be a reminder that you need humanitarian actions, not words, to help North Koreans.

Not only the United States, but other "gentlemen" countries like Japan and the European Union, which apparently care enough about North Korea to appoint a special envoy or rapporteur and author a U.N. resolution, should learn from the actions of Norway.

[From an editorial in the Korean Herald]

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