Kiina: Lee Su-jungia ja hänen 4-v poikaansa uhkaa palautus Pohjois-Koreaan. Vaadi palautusten keskeyttämistä. Vastaa VETOAN KOREA NIMESI numeroon 16499. Viesti maksaa 90snt.
Lee Su-jung arrived in China from Hoeryeong, a city near the northeastern border of North Korea on 17 October with her son. They were joined by 8 other North Koreans upon arrival. The group of 10, of which seven were women or girls, travelled with a broker to the city of Shenyang. Lee Su-jung maintained contact while in China with Lee Tae-won, her husband in South Korea by mobile phone.
Early in the evening of 4 November, Lee Tae-won was talking to his wife on the phone, but the conversation was interrupted, and he heard what he thought might be the detention of Lee Su-jung and their child by the police. Lee Tae-won, who left North Korea in 2015 and now lives with his mother and brother in South Korea, has not been able to contact her since. Through other intermediaries, he received confirmation on 12 November that his wife and son were detained in the Santaizi Detention Centre in Shenyang.
According to Lee Tae-won, his wife has a weak heart and has been regularly receiving medical care for a related illness. Their son suffers from asthma and often has lung problems during cold weather. They are at risk of not receiving adequate medical care during detention.
Although China is a state party to the UN Refugee Convention, it does not currently allow the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, access to North Koreans fleeing their country. The Chinese government considers North Koreans crossing the border into China without prior permission not as refugees, but as irregular, economic migrants and usually forcibly returns them to North Korea if caught. Forcibly repatriated North Koreans are often subjected to arbitrary imprisonment, forced labour, torture or other ill-treatment, and possibly execution.
In February 2014 the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) released its Report of the detailed findings of the Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The report documents the systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights in the country. Individuals or families in the DPRK fled the country to escape persecution for political or religious reasons. They also often have no choice but to cross the China-North Korea border illegally due to the desperate need for food and work.
Border controls in North Korea have reportedly been tightened in recent years since Kim Jong-un came to power in December 2011. The North Korean government condemned people crossing the border without prior permission and threatened them with severe punishments. The fortified security measures have caused a decrease in these crossings since 2012, but they have not stopped.
The Chinese government considers North Koreans crossing the border without prior permission not as asylum seekers, but as irregular, economic migrants. If caught, they would be forcibly returned to North Korea. According to Human Rights Watch, China has detained at least 41 refugees since July 2017, and has forcibly returned at least 37 North Koreans, out of an estimated 92 detained since July 2016.
The principle of non-refoulement, codified in the UN Refugee Convention which China is a state party to, and in other international human rights treaties binding on China prohibits the transfer of anyone to a place where they would be at real risk of serious human rights violations or abuses. This principle has also achieved the status of customary international law, binding on all states regardless of whether they have ratified the relevant treaties. Amnesty International believes that anyone fleeing North Korea is entitled to international protection because they are at risk of serious human rights violations if returned to North Korea just for having left the country.