North Korea: Refugees

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 20th January 2017.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the governments of China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea concerning reports of 30 North Korean defectors in China who are facing repatriation.

Photo of Baroness Anelay of St Johns Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State

The UK Government has raised the issue of non-refoulement with the Chinese on several occasions, including at the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue on 27 and 28 October 2016 at which the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Hon. Friend the Member for Reading West (Alok Sharma), spoke. The UK remains concerned that China continues to regard North Koreans fleeing the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as economic migrants, rather than refugees under the 1951 refugee convention. Despite claims by the DPRK authorities that forcibly repatriated refugees are well treated and reintegrated into DPRK society, reports suggest that they are often mistreated by the authorities. We continue to raise our serious concerns about DPRK human rights directly with the regime through our bilateral engagement and in international fora.

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