China Denies Forcibly Repatriating N.Korean Defectors

  • By Kim Eun-joong

    November 21, 2023 13:09

    The Chinese government has officially denied reports that it forcibly repatriated hundreds of North Korean defectors in a concerted night-and-fog operation. 
    According to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Monday, the Chinese government told the agency on Sept. 13, "In addressing the issue of illegal entrants from [North Korea], China will continue to adhere to the principle of a combination of domestic law, international law and humanitarianism." 
    It said the claim is "utterly groundless." But it also denied that repatriating them would have violated the UN Convention against Torture and other human rights treaties, claiming there is no clear evidence of torture or "massive human rights violations" in North Korea.
    Concerns were raised in July by Elizabeth Salmón, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, who pointed out that there were fears that China might forcibly repatriate around 2,000 North Korean defectors it had arbitrarily detained.
    Diplomatic sources said China's response is a clear rejection of the consensus of the international community, including a UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) report that exposed human rights abuses in North Korea in 2014. 
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