Open Letter to President Xi Jinping re: Halting the Forcible Repatriation of North Korean Refugees in China

The full open letter can be viewed here.

21 November 2017

 

President Xi Jinping

General Secretary Office

Central Committee of the Communist Party of China

Zhongnanhai Ximen, Fuyou Street

Xicheng District, Beijing 100017

People’s Republic of China

Re: APPRN East Asia Working Group Calls upon China to immediately stop the forcible repatriation of 10 North Korean refugees

Dear President Xi Jinping,

We write to you in our capacity as the Chair and Deputy Chair of the East Asia Working Group of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN), a network of more than 320 civil society organisations and individuals from 28 countries committed to advancing the rights of refugees across the Asia Pacific region.

The East Asia Working Group is concerned that 10 nationals from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), including a four year old child, are currently detained in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and appear to be facing imminent repatriation. They were arrested in a raid on a safe house in Shenyang, Liaoning province, on 4 November 2017. If repatriated, they face an extreme risk of torture, imprisonment, and possibly even execution.

The DPRK restricts its citizens from leaving the country and severely punishes those who attempt to escape. The 2014 report of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the DPRK found that refugees forcibly repatriated are commonly subjected to torture, arbitrary detention, summary execution, forced abortions, and other sexual violence.

Given these well-documented human rights violations, China’s forcible repatriation would violate its international law obligations, including the Convention against Torture and the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. The Committee against Torture’s concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of China said, with reference to nationals of the DPRK, that:

“… under no circumstance should the State party expel, return or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he or she would be in danger of being subjected to torture”

Additionally, the Committee called upon China to:

“Immediately cease forcible repatriation of undocumented migrants and victims of trafficking to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and allow UNHCR personnel unimpeded access to nationals of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea who have crossed the border, in order to determine if they qualify for refugee status.”

 

The East Asia Working Group respectfully calls upon you to halt the repatriation of the 10 DPRK nationals, allow them to meet with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees personnel to determine their status and guarantee their personal safety, including passage to a third country where required.

Sincerely,

 

Il Lee

Chair, East Asia Working Group

Advocates for Public Interest Law, South Korea

 

Piya Muqit

Deputy Chair, East Asia Working Group

Justice Centre Hong Kong 

—————————————————————————————

                                                                     21 November 2017

習近平主席

秘書長辦公室

中國共產黨中央委員會

福友街,西門中南海

北京市西城區,

中華人民共和國

「亞太難民權利網絡」東亞小組呼籲中國立即停止強制遣返十名北韓難民

親愛的習近平主席,

我們是以「亞太難民權利網絡」東亞工作組的主席及副主席的身份寫信給您。「亞太難民權利網絡」是一個來自28個國家,超過320個致力於促進亞太地區難民權利的公民團體及個人所組成的網絡。

東亞工作組關切十位來自北韓的國民,其中包括一位四歲的小孩,目前都被中國關押收容,且即將面臨遣返。他們在今年十一月四日,在遼寧省瀋陽的一個安全住所,被突襲及逮補。若遣返,他們極可能面臨酷刑,監禁,甚至是死刑執行。

北韓限制他們的公民離開國家,且嚴格懲罰那些試圖逃離的人們。2014年聯合國針對北韓的人權調查委員會所完成的報告發現,被遣返的難民往往被施以酷刑,任意逮補,任意處死,強迫墮胎或其他性暴力。

根據這些被充分證明的人權侵害,中國的強制遣返將違反它本身的國際法義務,包括「反酷刑公約」及「國際難民地位公約」。反酷刑公約委員會在第五次針對中國的定期審查,提出了關於遣返北韓人民的「結論性意見」:

在任何情況下,如果締約國有充分的理由相信他或她將面臨遭受酷刑的危險,締約國不應將其遣返,遣返或引渡到另一國。」

此外,委員會呼籲中國政府:

「立刻停止遣返來自北韓的無證移民及人口販運被害者,並允許聯合國難民署人員可以暢通無阻地接觸到這些跨越邊境來自北韓的國民,以便確認他們是否符合難民資格。」

東亞工作組懇請您停止遣返這十名北韓國民,允許他們會見聯合國難民事務高級專員,確定他們的地位,保證他們的人身安全,包括必要時前往第三國。

主席,東亞工作組

南韓公益法倡議組織

副主席,東亞工作組

Justice Centre Hong Kong

This entry was posted in Member statements, News. Bookmark the permalink.