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Worldwide Protests Against Repatriation North Korea Refugees

Friday, 23 June 2006 (2 hours ago)

By BosNewsLife News Center

SEOUL/LONDON (BosNewsLife)– “Daily vigils” continued outside the Chinese embassy in Seoul Friday, June 23, and other cities to protest the repatriation of North Korean refugees, including Christians, to their home country, where they could face imprisonment, torture and possible execution, co-organizers said.

UK-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a major advocacy group, said the protests are part of the Global Week of Prayer for North Korea , where thousands are reportedly persecuted for opposing the government or for their religious beliefs.

CSW told BosNewsLife that Christians in other cities, including in London , joined the prayer chain and protests. On Thursday, June 22, “Over 150 people joined the protest outside the Chinese Embassy, organized by CSW and partner organizations. The demonstration called on the Chinese Authorities to reconsider their policy which denies refugee status to North Koreans within their borders,” the group said.

Speakers included the chairman of the group Christian Resources Exhibition, Gospatric Home, who spoke of his experiences when serving with United Nations forces in the Korean War. British parliamentarians also supported the demonstration.

WORDWIDE CAMPAIGN

“The protest forms part of a worldwide campaign to put pressure on the Chinese authorities to review their policies,” CSW said. Currently, China refuses to accept claims from North Korean citizens for refugee status and it does not allow them access to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

“Instead, the Chinese authorities repatriate those found within their borders. Citizens returned to North Korea face detention, torture and even execution,” CSW stressed
The organization and other human rights groups have urged the Chinese authorities to review the policy and protect North Koreans who manage to cross the border, and allow them access to the UNHCR.

“This week the world has focused on the nuclear threat that North Korea poses. However, the citizens of North Korea face dangers from the North Korean regime every day, said
CSW National Director Stuart Windsor in a statement to BosNewsLife.

“As a signatory to the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, we are calling on China to uphold her duty to protect those North Koreans who manage to escape the grip of such a repressive regime.” The North Korean authorities have denied human rights abuses and say the people support the “Socialist system” in the isolated nation. (With reports from Soul and London ).