This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

Human rights activists accuse China of overlooking North Korean refugees

Washington DC [US], June 17 (ANI): Human rights activists and former officials have accused Beijing of violating Chinese and international laws and neglecting North Korean refugees, Voice of America (VOA) reported.

US Representative Chris Smith, Chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) said that the Chinese government have detained about 2,000 North Korean refugees at the Chinese border 'awaiting imminent forced repatriation'. But, they have refused to protect them. For North Koreans, repatriation stands for torture, forced labour in camps that yield that generate export income for the Pyongyang regime, or death.

The borders between North Korea and China were closed during the pandemic. Therefore, the commission held a hearing on Tuesday to discuss the issue of North Koreans detained by Beijing, according to VOA.

Voice of America (VOA) is the largest and oldest US-owned news network and international radio broadcaster of the United States of America. It produces digital, TV, and radio content in 48 languages.

Elizabeth Salmon, the United Nations (UN) special rapporteur on North Korea's human rights first cited the number of North Korean refugees detained by China in 2022. Hence, the number mentioned by Smith could be higher.

Ethan Hee-seok Shin, a legal analyst at Seoul-based Transitional Justice Working Group told VOA Korean Service before testifying on Tuesday, "China has failed to accord protection to North Korean refugees as it is required to do so under its domestic law, international law, and humanitarian principles," as per VOA.

China considers North Korean refugees as illegal immigrants, whereas, the latter country feels that the people who cross their border as traitors. Moreover, the regime refuses its people's freedom of speech, religion, mobility or assembly.

The UN explains refugees as those people who were forced to flee their country because of persecution, war or violence.

The UN defines refugees as those forced to flee their country because of persecution, war or violence. According to CECC, the large-scale repatriation of some 2,000 North Koreans who were in China while seeking to reach a third country could mean a humanitarian and human rights crisis, VOA reported.

Beijing has been restricting the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from reaching out to North Korean refugees in China even though it agreed in 1995 to allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) staff full access to all refugees, as per CECC.

The UNHCR is accountable for determining refugee status and registering asylum seekers in China.

A former South Korean ambassador-at-large for North Korean human rights who testified virtually at this week's Washington hearing emailed VOA Korean that it is time to call out both Beijing and UNHCR.

He said, "Beijing is reneging on its obligation and UNHCR on its part is not doing its job of "resorting to binding arbitration" and putting pressure on China to allow its staff to access North Korean asylum seekers," according to VOA.

Liu Pengyu, the spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington responded to the hearing and told VOA Korean on Wednesday that the government "has properly handled the issues related to the illegal entry of North Koreans in accordance with China's law, international law, and the principle of humanitarianism.""This so-called committee, biased against China, is distorting facts, and making irresponsible remarks and accusations of China's social system and the relevant policies. Its rhetoric is full of ignorance and prejudice," he added, according to VOA.

He said, "We urge the US Congress and relevant parties to reflect on their own problems, stop interfering in China's internal affairs, and do more things that are conducive to China-US. relations."Smith appealed to Guterres on Tuesday to "please use your influence to the utmost to dissuade the Chinese government from forcibly repatriating these refugees."In response, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said at a news briefing on Tuesday that Guterres "stands for the respect of international refugee law and against refoulement."Robert King, special envoy for North Korean Human Rights during the Obama administration, who testified at the hearing, told VOA Korean that the UN is cautious about urging China to take steps to protect refugees or "publicly criticizing them" as Chinese officials who hold important positions at the UN wield considerable influence at the UN"According to the Citizens' Alliance for North Korean Human Rights, a Seoul-based rights group promoting North Korean human rights said that Beijing and Pyongyang profit financially by sending refugees back to North Korea. He added that after China forcibly repatriates refugees, North Korea sends them to forced labour camps where they manufacture fake eyelashes and wigs that are later exported to Chinese companies.

"There is a high probability that [a] portion of products originating from North Korea but produced for Chinese companies have been made in prisons detaining repatriated North Korean refugees from China," the statement said, as per VOA. (ANI)