The government has decided to raise the issue of North Korean defectors who face repatriation from China with the UN Human Rights Council when it meets at the end of this month.
A government official said on Monday, "Since we have decided to take firm steps to prevent Beijing from repatriating North Korean defectors under UN treaties on the treatment of refugees and the prohibition of torture, we will raise the issue before the UN Human Rights Council." A Foreign Ministry official said, "According to new guidelines announced on Sunday, we are discussing at what level to bring up the matter at the UNHCR."
The government will dispatch Choi Soo-young, the director of human rights and social affairs at the Foreign Ministry, to the UNHRC in Geneva this week.
The government plans to seek measures to ensure the safety of North Korean defectors should they be sent back to the North. Also to be discussed is the inclusion of a clause in the North Korean Human Rights Resolution, adopted by the UNHCR every year, that would prohibit China from repatriating defectors from the North.
A high-ranking government official said, "If no solution can be found through the UNHCR, then we will consider filing a complaint against China at the UN to raise international awareness of the issue."