Forced return to North Korea: Laos and China seem not to know the concept of non-refoulement

June 2, 2013

Nine North-Korean defectors, aged 15 to 23, entered Laos through China on 9 May 2013 and were caught by Laotian authorities on 16 May. They were sent back home on Tuesday 28 May via China. [Under North Korean law, defectors face a minimum of five years of hard labour and as much as life in prison or the death penalty in cases deemed particularly serious]  UN Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay, urged Chinese and Laotian authorities to publicly clarify the fate of the nine defectors and the conditions of their return, which apparently violated international law, UN deputy spokesperson

Logo of United Nations Refugee Agency.Version ...

said. “The High Commissioner’s office is dismayed that the governments of Laos and China appear to have abrogated their non-refoulement obligations, especially given the vulnerability of that group, all of whom are reported to be orphans” The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said on Thursday in a statement that it is trying to locate the defectors and expressed concern that they did not receive a chance to have their asylum claims assessed.

via UN protests return of N Korean defectors | News24.

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