Seven asylum seekers from DPR of Korea arrive in Seoul

2 July 2001

Seven asylum seekers from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea who had sought help at the United Nations refugee agency's office in Beijing arrived in Seoul over the weekend, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

After the concurrence of the Republic of Korea was obtained, Chinese authorities, in an arrangement with UNHCR, agreed on humanitarian grounds to the departure of the group on Friday, the UN agency said in Geneva. Accompanied by a UNHCR staff member, the asylum seekers arrived in Seoul on Saturday.

UNHCR has declared that this group deserves asylum and that it would be unthinkable to return them to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"We are pleased at the resolution of this case," said Francois Fouinat, UNHCR's Director for the Asia-Pacific region. "We hope this incident will lead to an enhanced dialogue with the Chinese authorities that will enable us to address properly the plight of thousands of North Koreans in China, especially those who qualify under the refugee Convention signed by China."

 

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