Human Rights Watch says 8 North Korean defectors in danger of repatriation from China

Human Rights Watch says 8 North Korean defectors in danger of repatriation from ChinaHuman Rights Watch said Chinese government authorities detained the eight North Koreans in mid-March.

This is reported by Reuters.

"By now, there are plenty of survivor accounts that reveal (North Korean leader) Kim Jong Un's administration is routinely persecuting those who are forced back to North Korea after departing illegally, and subjecting them to torture, sexual violence, forced labor – and even worse," Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement on Monday.

Robertson called on China not to deport the would-be defectors.

The United Nations has said China is required under international law not to return defectors to North Korea, where they could face persecution, torture and possibly death.

China says North Korean defectors are illegal migrants who flee their country for economic reasons. North Korea calls them criminals and describes those who try to bring them to South Korea as kidnappers.

Scores of North Koreans attempt to flee their country every year, often first crossing into China and then making their way to Southeast Asia. Some countries in the region have worked with South Korea to send them to South Korea.

About 30,000 have made their way to South Korea, many with the help of South Korean human rights groups, religious organizations or commercial brokers.
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