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Protesting Laos' Deportation of 9 North Korean Youth
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2015-04-08 21:01:00
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NKHR Protests Laos' Deportation of 9 North Korean Youth


May 10          9 North Korean youth detained in Laos; South Korean group leader  
                       requests emergency assistance from South Korean embassy in 
                       Vientiane to no avail

May 11          South Korea-based human rights organization requests the South Korean 
                       Embassy in Vientiane to initiate emergency diplomatic protocol, to no avail

May 20, 24     North Korean Embassy in Vientiane meets with the 9 youth in detention

May 27          Laos deports youth, who go to China before being taken to North Korea

May 29          NKHR protests at the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs
                       NKHR sends an Urgent Appeal to foreign embassies in Seoul (Attached)

May 31          NKHR protests at the Laotian Embassy in Seoul

In the midst of their escape to South Korea, 9 North Korean youth defectors (ages 14-23) were caught by authorities in Laos on May 10, 2013. They were then deported on May 27 to China, before being sent back to North Korea.

The young refugees, who were caught while in the company of South Korean religious leaders, have probably already faced severe punishment. Nothing has been heard about them since their deportation. We know from North Koreans who have successfully escaped that the punishment for attempting to go to South Korea and for fraternizing with South Korean religious leaders includes torture, political prison camp sentences, and even execution. 

On May 29, 2013, before it was confirmed that the youth had been deported, NKHR members and supporters gathered in front of the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs to appeal to the government to take action and stop the repatriation of these young defectors.

Two days later, NKHR held another street protest at the Embassy of Laos in South Korea to demonstrate against the Laotian government’s unlawful practice of refoulement, which it did despite knowing the fatal fate awaiting the refugees, and to urge the Laotian government never to send refugees back to North Korea again.  During the protest, a Laotian official came out to receive NKHR’s letter of appeal. 


Associated Press:
Wall Street Journal: 

Attach file#1 : Laos Embassy protest.jpg