Wednesday, April 15, 2015

An Argument for Economic Migrants: Poverty as a Coercive Mechanism

In spite of the mountains of evidence of human rights abuses in North Korea, Chinese authorities have balked at acknowledging North Korean defectors in China as refugees, insisting they are illegal economic migrants. China has even gone so far as to provide a blanket statement saying that there is no such thing as a North Korean refugee. Even after the Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea revealed “systematic, widespread and grave violations occurring in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” China steadfastly dismissed the report calling it "divorced from reality."

This is the tune China has consistently sung since the partition of Korea. With regards to North Koreans, China has never respected the principle of non-refoulement, the principle in international law forbidding a host state from deporting a non-citizen to a place where his or her life or freedom is under legitimate threat, an obligation China acquired by joining the United Nations and ratifying the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocols. Instead, it has maintained the practice of forcibly repatriating North Koreans.

Further analysis on why China has a legal and moral responsibility to North Korean defectors on its soil can be found here.

#NorthKorea #Refugees #NorthKoreanRefugees #HumanRights

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