SEOUL, South Korea - The head of South Korea's National Human Rights Commission is calling on the international community to intervene in China's forced repatriation of North Koreans.
According to a new release by Yonhap News Agency, Chairperson Song Doo-hwan issued letters on Thursday to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the U.N. Special Rapporteur for North Korean Human Rights. In these letters, Song expressed regret over China's actions and urged cooperative measures to prevent further forced repatriations.
Earlier this month, a local newspaper reported that China had forcibly repatriated approximately 600 North Korean defectors detained in its Jilin and Liaoning provinces immediately following the end of the Asian Games in Hangzhou. The Unification Ministry confirmed the repatriation but did not specify the number of people involved.
Song Doo-hwan emphasized the gravity of the situation facing North Korean refugees if they are forcibly returned to their homeland. He stated that these individuals could potentially face torture and the death penalty upon repatriation.
Song also expressed hope that "the forced repatriation of North Korean refugees can be halted and the lives and safety of those already returned can be protected through proactive efforts by our government and the international community."