[Documents menu] Documents menu

From Ray.Mitchell@amnesty.org.uk Sun Jun 11 10:30:01 2000
Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2000 00:38:27 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: AI: North Korea/China bulletin
Article: 98029
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea)/People's Republic of China

From Amnesty International, AI Index: ASA 24/01/00, 7 June 2000

More evidence has come to light that the Chinese government has been contravening the internationally recognised principle of non-refoulement by forcibly returning scores of North Korean asylum-seekers to their country. The latest crack-down on North Korean asylum seekers and illegal immigrants has been stepped up since March this year when thousands of North Korean nationals are reported to have been forcibly returned to their country. Amnesty International is concerned that those forcibly returned are at risk of severe human rights violations in North Korea where they may face prison terms, or even the death penalty under the North Korean Criminal Code. According to some reports, many are subject to torture and ill-treatment while in prison camps and receive grossly insufficient food.

Amnesty International is further concerned at reports claiming that the North Korean Public Security Service (PPS) together with the Chinese police are issuing threats to people who are involved in helping North Korean asylum seekers including Chinese of Korean descent and local churches. North Koreans are not given an opportunity to lodge asylum claims even though China is party to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention.

Some sources have alleged that North Korea has notified China that it will completely close their common border between 1 and 25 June, apparently in preparation for the first ever inter-Korean summit to be held in Pyongyang between 12 and 14 June.

Since 1995, the famine in North Korean is believed to have caused the death of hundreds of thousands of people and has triggered a flood of starving asylum seekers into China. Amnesty International has not been able to establish the total number of North Korean asylum seekers and illegal immigrants currently in China and estimates of their number may be between 50,000 and 300,000.