Laotian Government Called to Protect Nine North Korean Children Forced Back to North Korea

-->On June 5, 2013, the North Korea Freedom Coalition appealed to the Laotian Government in Washington, D.C. to protect the nine North Korean orphans forced back to North Korea in May 2013. To view the report, click here.

->Letter sent to the Embassy of the Laos People's Democratic Republic

->Letter of Appeal sent to President Obama

->Watch CNN's report, "Defectors agonizingly close to freedom sent back to North Korean nightmare," published on October 3, 2013.


The North Korean Children Who Were Forced Back
Photographs of the nine North Korean orphans forcibly repatriated to North Korea in May 2013 were placed on the front door step of the Embassy of the Laos People's Democratic Republic in Washington, D.C. by members of the North Korea Freedom Coalition.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 4, 2013
 
LAOTIAN GOVERNMENT CALLED TO PROTECT NINE NORTH KOREAN CHILDREN THEY FORCED BACK TO NORTH KOREA
 
(Washington, DC.)....Representatives of the North Korea Freedom Coalition will hand deliver a letter to the Embassy of the Laos People's Democratic Republic (2222 S. Street, NW, Washington, DC. 20008) at 2 pm on Wednesday, June 5, 2013, calling upon that government to protect the lives of the nine North Koreans the Laotian authorities forced back to North Korea last week.
 
"We sent this same letter on Monday requesting to meet with the Laotian Ambassador to point out the facts of this incident which are 1) these nine young people ranging in age from teenagers to young adults were seeking resettlement to the Republic of Korea, and 2) that the Republic of Korea had made it clear to the Laotian authorities that they were willing to accept all nine children for resettlement," said NKFC Chairman Suzanne Scholte. "It is also universally known and recognized that North Koreans who have fled their country, as these nine had done, face torture, imprisonment, and even execution when they are forced back to North Korea."
 
Scholte said that the nine were the remaining ones from a group of sixteen who had been sheltered and cared for by a South Korean missionary, MJ, and his wife since early 2010. MJ had successfully rescued four to South Korea and three to the United States over the past year.
 

NKFC wrote to President Lt. Gen. Choummali Saignason, “Because the lives of the nine young people rests in your hands because of the decision that was made, we make this simple request: that the Laos People’s Democratic Republic perform regular visits to these nine children in North Korea, so that you can guarantee they have been welcomed on their return, treated properly, and their rights have been protected and that you share that information with the Republic of Korea who had requested to care for these nine young people.” 

The NKFC further requested Laos “never again put the lives of North Korean men, women and children at risk by forcing them back to North Korea and that you instead return to your previous policy to work on their resettlement to the Republic of Korea, where they have automatic citizenship under the Republic of Korea’s constitution.”

In the past, Laos authorities have allowed North Korean refugees to resettle to South Korea and even the United States. Free North Korea Radio, a defectors run radio station based in Seoul, has reported that there was a direct order from Kim Jong Un to force the escapees back to North Korea and that they are currently being held in solitary confinement near Sunan airport.

Attached is the letter that was sent to the Embassy of the Lao People's Democratic Republic on Monday morning. 

Also, attached is an appeal to U.S. President Barack Obama to raise this issue during his meeting with Xi Jinping later this week.

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At the Laotian Embassy in June 2013