Save North Korean Refugees Day 2015

Petition Deliveries and Other Events Occurred in Over 20 Cities Worldwide for Save North Korean Refugees Day
September 24, 2015

Petition Letter prepared by NKFC
Justice Michael Kirby's letter
Press Release

Save North Korean Refugees Day Flier

A report describing the activities of Save North Korean Refugees Day will be available online soon.

Background: Ever since Kim Jong Eun came to power, his regime has worked aggressively to prevent North Koreans from escaping. The China-North Korea border is more dangerous today than ever before, which has made the cost of rescues grow astronomically along with a sharp decline in the number of refugees escaping.  Complicit in the Kim regime's reign of terror and crimes against humanity is Xi Jinping, China’s President, who flagrantly violates the international obligations China has made regarding refugees. China became a signatory to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol on September 24, 1982, which obligates China not to force North Koreans back to North Korea to face certain torture, certain imprisonment, and even execution.

Action Planned:  The North Korea Freedom Coalition, and Jack Rendler, of the International Coalition to Stop Crimes against Humanity in North Korea, are calling for people around the world to take part in the annual Save North Korean Refugees Day on September 24 to focus on this issue that receives such little attention, but could be solved overnight if China simply followed its international treaty obligations.

Petition deliveries will occur in cities throughout the world including, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco; Seoul, Busan; Toyko; Berlin; London; The Hague; Toronto, Ottawa; Mexico City; Rio de Janeiro; Santiago; and Buenos Aires calling for the government of China to abide by its international treaty obligations and stop forcing North Koreans back to North Korea to face torture, imprisonment and even execution for fleeing their homeland.

Solidarity cities including San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA; Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and Maraba, Brazil are planning events to call for action to help North Korean refugees. Several cities will also have events to mark the tragic circumstances facing North Korean refugees. For example, in Chicago, the North Korea Freedom Network will sponsor a protest at 11 am in front of the Chinese consulate, while in Washington, D.C., there will be a candlelight vigil at 8 pm at the Chinese Embassy at which North Korean defectors and activists will read aloud the names of the hundreds of refugees who were forced back to North Korea by China. There will also be a special demonstration at the Van Ness/UDC metro stop by North Korean defectors in Washington, D.C.

We are taking this action to ensure that Chinese officials realize that this issue will not go away, that many people in many places continue to care about the people of North Korea, and to insist that China protect the rights of North Korean refugees,” according to a statement released by Suzanne Scholte of NKFC and Jack Rendler of ICNK, co-chairs of the event.

The NKFC has continuously pointed out that North Korean refugees are unlike any refugees in the world today because they have a place to be immediately resettled as they are citizens of the Republic of Korea.  There is no reason for China to continue its inhumane and barbaric treatment of these refugees which has led to over 80% of North Korean females to be trafficked and tens of thousands of starving orphans to be in constant danger.

The Coalitions, human rights activists, and organizations around the world will deliver letters on Thursday to Chinese embassies and consulates appealing for safe passage for North Korean refugees, who every day face arrest and forced repatriation to North Korea by Chinese authorities. The petition to China will also include the letter that Justice Michael Kirby sent to China's United Nations Mission in Geneva in December 2013. Justice Kirby acted as chair of the UN Commission of Inquiry that found the government of North Korea responsible for crimes against humanity. His letter outlines the ways in which Chinese authorities have participated in those crimes by their brutal treatment of North Korean refugees.

If you cannot physically join these efforts, you can still advocate in solidarity by sending a letter, email, or fax to a Chinese Embassy in your country.  Sample appeal letter below.  Feel free to edit and use your own words.  Please be respectful in your letter.  List of the 228 Chinese embassies and consulates around of the world available here.


You may use this sample on your NGO’s letterhead or deliver the NKFC petition letter.

September 24, 2015

His Excellency Xi Jinping
President, People’s Republic of China
c/o Embassy (or Consulate) of the People’s Republic of China

Dear Mr. President:

We are deeply thankful that today, September 24, marks the anniversary of the date in 1982, when the People’s Republic of China became a signatory to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol.  By signing this agreement, your nation showed its concern for refugees and displayed great leadership.  We are writing today to appeal to your government to consider the plight of those refugees coming into China from North Korea and to ask that you provide them safe passage to a third country and not send them back to North Korea.

We understand and respect China’s concerns about its border and about the influx of refugees illegally entering China as they flee starvation and deprivation in North Korea. As more and more nations become aware of this difficult situation, it is important for these nations to work with your government to help resolve this refugee crisis in a way that fulfills the goals of the Convention and Protocol.

Unlike any refugee crisis in the world today, the North Korean refugees have a place to go for immediate resettlement as they are citizens of South Korea, under Articles 2 and 3 of the Republic of Korea Constitution. Furthermore, the United States as well as other countries have shown a willingness to accept these refugees for resettlement. There is no reason for them to remain a burden and concern for China and face the threat of repatriation to North Korea where they will most certainly be tortured and imprisoned, and in some cases, executed for fleeing their country.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHRC) can help China quickly and safely resettle these refugees, and we are asking our government to do more to facilitate resettlement.

We believe working together with the international community and the UNHCR that China can resolve this crisis quickly and safely.

With this letter we are including Justice Michael Kirby’s letter on behalf of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea which cites the findings that

1)     DPRK citizens who cross the border into China do so owing to a well founded fear of being persecuted;

2)     Those forcibly repatriated are subjected to torture and arbitrary detention and in some instances rape, enforced disappearances, summary execution and other gross human rights violations;

3)     There are reasonable ground for believing that Chinese officials have in some cases shared with DPRK authorities information which further aggravates the risk for these repatriated DPRK nationals and that China is allowing DPRK agents to operate on Chinese territory and even abduct DPRK citizens and at least one ROK national;

4)     Many North Korean women are being trafficked into forced marriages and in some instances commercial sexual exploitation; and

5)     Estimates of “stateless” children in China (children of Chinese fathers and North Korean mothers) ranges from 10,000 to 25,000.

These findings could immediately be addressed if China simply followed its international treaty obligations. 

We look forward to your response to our request.