31 FOR 31
31 FOR 31

Between May 10th and 11th, ENoK members and volunteers fasted for 31 hours for the 31 recently repatriated North Korean refugees and raised over $2500 in donations. All proceeds will go to supporting North Korean refugees in the United States.

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  • Reaching safe haven for North Koreans is not only difficult, but often fatal. Those who flee predominantly find safe haven as refugees in Cambodia, and eventually in South Korea or in the United States. However, only 16,500 North Korean refugees have successfully and safely escaped the DPRK because Chinese and North Korean law enforcement intensely patrol the borderlands north of North Korea and Chinese guards and Chinese guards that are posted outside of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and outside of cooperating Embassies in Beijing, China. Additionally, many North Korean refugees flee without their families, many of whom remain in North Korea and may face punishment for the flight of their family member.

  • If they accept North Korean refugees and make it easier for them to stay in China, there is a fear that it will lead to a flood of refugees. Such an influx could destabilize China’s northeastern regions as well as North Korea. While this may have been true in the past — when border security on the North Korean side was more lax — since the latter half of 2011 the North Korean regime has placed a higher priority on securing their borders. Despite rampant corruption that allows smugglers to cross back and forth, the majority of poor North Koreans do not have an easy way out. Nevertheless, the Chinese government does not want to take the chance.

  • Flossie Lott says:

    Q: How many North Korean refugees are there in China? A: Because of the Chinese government’s tight control, it is impossible to conduct surveys to determine the numbers with any accuracy, but based on past figures provided by NGOs working in the field, it is estimated that there are approximately 100,000 North Koreans in China as of 2007. Some of these refugees are in shelters; others are living and working in hiding in autonomous ethnic-Korean areas. Female refugees frequently become the “brides” of local men—but in reality these marriages are little more than human-trafficking arrangements. Q: Why does China forcibly repatriate North Korean refugees? A: China continues to violate the International Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees by refusing to recognize North Korean defectors as refugees. China and North Korea have a secret agreement with regard to the forcible repatriation of North Korean refugees. China is probably considering its own position in northeast Asia and the consequences if North Korea were to collapse. China fears that a mass influx of North Korean refugees could precipitate a collapse of the North Korean system. Both of those events would have an adverse effect on Chinese economic growth. It is likely also that China fears what the effect would be on the two million ethnic Koreans living in the border region, as well as on other, smaller, ethnic groups.

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