Statement of CMNK (Citizens Meeting for ‘Right’ North Korean Human Rights Act)
March 6, 2014
On March 3, 2014, three North Korean refugees were arrested. They have been detained by Chinese police in Kunming located in Southwest China. This is the first arrest of North Korean refugees since COI (UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea) recommended Chinese government NOT to repatriate North Korean refugees for any reason in February 17, just 2 weeks before the arrest. We deplore that the Chinese government officially and categorically denied the existence of North Korean refugees. On February 18, one day after the release of COI’s report, Chinese Foreign Ministry announced: “They are not refugees. They are illegal North Korean immigrants.”
In spite of deep concern and warnings of international community, Chinese government has refused to recognize the status of “refugees” of North Korean refugees and still continues to repatriate them. This is a serious violation of Article 33 (non-refoulement, a principle of international law which forbids the rendering of a true victim of persecution to their persecutor) in the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees which Chinese government joined in 1982. Chinese government should stop repatriation of North Korean refugees and protect them especially as a member of the Human Rights Council.
We “CMNK” sincerely urge Chinese government to respect and abide at least the minimal level of international standards and conventions related to human rights. In addition, we demand Chinese government to approve the status of “refugees” of North Korean people in China and to make best efforts to protect them from persecutions by North Korean regime.
* “Citizens Meeting of ‘Right’ North Korean Human Rights Act” (hereinafter “CMNK”) is a group of NGOs making efforts to improve the situation of human rights in North Korea. It was formed in order to urge South Korean National Assembly to enact “right” North Korean Human Rights Act in January, 2014. CMNK defines “right” North Korean Human Rights Act as the one focusing on preventing and deterring the violations of human rights rather than others emphasizing on humanitarian aid.