Target: Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Goal: Stop the deportation of North Korean refugees who seek asylum in China and nearby countries
North Koreans face a life devoid of human rights, free speech, regular nutrition and modern medicine. Every day, North Koreans risk their lives to get out of these intolerable living conditions, only to be confronted by harsh immigration policies in China and Russia. Women are especially at risk when crossing to China, as sex-traffickers often wait at the Chinese border for susceptible women escaping alone. Because China does not recognize North Korean defectors as refugees, these women have no way of protecting themselves from sex-traffickers, and struggle to find freedom once they fall prey to these abuses.
There are anywhere between 20,000 and 200,000 North Korean refugees in China alone. Furthermore, China’s harsh immigration policies lead to thousands of deportations of these refugees every year.
If refugees are caught and deported, they are punished with severe torture, years and even generations of punishment in North Korean work camps, or execution. Women who return from China or Russia pregnant are forced to abort or kill their infants. Refugees who have come into any contact with Christian missionaries are killed or forced to renounce their faiths.
We need to pressure China and neighboring countries to rethink their human smuggling laws and their deportation policies, especially when it comes to the lives of the over 20,000 North Korean refugees annually crossing through treacherous local borders. Sign the petition below to urge nearby nations to act as a shelter for North Korean refugees.
Dear High Commissioner Guterres,
Human rights conditions have steadily deteriorated in North Korea, and we now know that tens of thousands of North Koreans risk their lives to escape every year. Most of those will not make it to a safe place before being caught, deported, and potentially executed by their own government.
We must put pressure on neighbouring countries to stop the deportation of North Korean refugees. The United Nations has a history of supporting human rights, and especially reaching out to countries with high food insecurity and other harsh living conditions. There is so much more the UN can do to help North Korean refugees, and we hope you will consider moving forward to protect the lives of North Korean escapees.
We must pressure China to reconsider its deportation policies. We must recognize North Korean defectors as refugees internationally, in order to protect them from further human rights abuses as they try to flee the country.
We must also pressure China to reconsider its human smuggling laws. In China, anyone who aids a North Korean refugee out of the country can be punished for human smuggling. If we can enable private sponsorship of North Korean defectors, we could potentially change these laws, and allow major charities and other organizations to provide financial assistance for North Korean refugees.
Please, help us support these international policy changes and give North Korean refugees the chance to find freedom. The lives of over 20,000 refugees annually depend on these policies.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: VOA via Wikimedia Commons