International Protest to Save North Korean Refugees Update
We have argued strongly—in both Witness to Transformation and an earlier study for the Committee on Human Rights in North Korea—that China should do the right thing and abide by its commitments under the Refugee Convention. We are not alone.
International Protest to Save North Korean Refugees -- September 22, 2011
Wherever you are in the world on Thursday, September 22, 2011, please join the International Protest to Save North Korean Refugees slated for 12:00 noon by participating with one of the thirteen countries and twenty-four cities where events will occur. Country and city coordinators are delivering petitions at 12:00 noon to the Chinese embassies calling upon them to end their policy of forcibly repatriating North Korean refugees back to North Korea to face torture, imprisonment and even public execution.
We are simply calling upon China to abide by its international treaty commitments and allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to be able to carry out their mission to help refugees. See sample letter at www.nkfreedom.org. China's policy has caused this crisis and led to these refugees to be in extreme danger while threatening to arrest and jail those who try to help them. Just this week it was reported that a South Korean missionary died under suspicious circumstances and another human rights worker was poisoned -- what they had in common is they were both in China trying to help North Korean refugees and it is believed they were targeted by North Korean agents who are free to operate in the China.
How ironic that China, which wants to be seen as a country on a "peaceful rise", is complicit with North Korea in the kidnapping, imprisonment and even murder of not only North Korean refugees BUT also of Americans, South Koreans, Japanese and even their own Chinese citizens who try to help North Korean refugees -- just a few examples: Americans: Laura Ling and Euna Lee kidnapped and imprisoned 2010; Steve Kim imprisoned 2003-2007; Kim Dong Shik kidnapped and murdered 2001; South Koreans: Choi Yong-Hun imprisoned 2003-2006, Ahn Seung-Woon kidnapped and disappeared 1995, Kim Hee Tae imprisoned 2002-2004; Japanese: Fumiaki Yamada, Takayuki Noguchi and Hiroshi Kato imprisoned 2003; and Chinese citizens Lee Gi Cheon: kidnapped in China and taken to North Korea in 2008. Sounds incredible -- see the complete report: we call it "THE LIST" at www.nkfreedom.org
China's policy has led to extreme danger for the refugees and those who try to help them. It has led to the exploitation of North Korean women with over 80% victims of human traffickers. It has led to "stateless" children, North Korean orphans, having to hide in shelters terrified of repatriation to North Korea, living with no access to medical care and education, and those children are the fortunate ones.
The irony of China's actions is that it is causing the North Korean refugee crisis by absolving Kim Jong-il of any pressure to improve the conditions in North Korea that cause people to flee the country in the first place.
This is a crisis that could be solved overnight if China would simply follow international law and allow the UNHCR to do their job. This international protest is necessary because China has not responded to repeated requests by the governments of South Korea and the United States and the UNHCR to end the forceful repatriation of North Korean refugees.
We must show the authorities in China that people all over the world know about what they are doing to the refugees and those who try to help them and that people all over the world care.
Will you care?
Please see below the cities where you can join us. If your city is not listed, we are still recruiting coordinators!
Acta Non Verba,
September 22, 2011 International Protest Country, City Coordinators
NOTE: the International Parliamentarians’ Coalition for North Korean Refugees and Human Rights led by South Korean Assemblyman Hwang Woo Yea, Japanese Cabinet Member and Congressman Masaharu Nakagawa, U.S. Congressman Ed Royce, and Mongolian National Assemblyman Lamjav Gundalai, have strongly endorsed this effort, and they are also sending a letter to the Chinese President Hu Jintao on September 22 in solidarity with this effort!
All these city and country coordinators are delivering petitions at noon on September 22 - I have also noted additional events that will take place in conjunction with the International Protest.
AUSTRALIA Sydney Sarah Judd
In Sydney there will be a special screening of Seoul Train, a petition drive, and an online survey.
BELGIUM Brussels Willy Fautre and Human Rights Without Frontiers
CANADA Toronto Kyung B. Lee The Council for Human Rights in North Korea
CZECH REPUBLIC Prague Pavla Kantnerova Opona (The Curtain)
FINLAND Helsinki Mikko Heikkonen
Mikko Heikkonen is reaching out to journalists active on human rights issues to help report and draw public attention to this issue.
JAPAN Tokyo -- Events at the Diet: The Honorable Kushibuchi Mari, Secretary-General of the Democratic Party of Japan Tokyo - Embassy protest Kan Ando
The Honorable Kushibuchi Mari is organizing a film screening of Crossing for Japanese lawmakers and adoption of a resolution in the Diet calling on the Japanese government to take concrete actions to help North Korean refugees, while Kan Ando will be organizing a protest and delivering a petition at the Chinese embassy in Tokyo.
MEXICO Mexico City Teresa Ost
Teresa Ost has organized an all day film screening hosted at the Institute of Anthropology in Mexico City to show Seoul Train, Kimjongilia, Crossing and On the Border. She has set up a Spanish language website at http://rescatemosrefugiados.com/ where people can sign the petition to the PRC on line.
POLAND Warsaw Marcin Nowak and Together Action Fundation
also supporting: Agnieszka Gratkiewicz, Lech Walesa Institute
REPUBLIC OF KOREA Seoul Jang Se Yul and the North Korea People's Liberation Front and Free North Korea Radio are organizing a demonstration in front of the Chinese embassy in which many NGOs will participate including PSCORE, Free the NK Gulag, North Korea Women's Solidarity for Human Rights, and the Committee for the Democratization of North Korea will join.
Busan Pastor Changho Lim and Jandaehyun Church
RUMANIA Bucharest Beniamin Lup
Constanta Beniamin Lup
UKRAINE Kiev Kim and Zenya Walder
UNITED KINGDOM London Joo il KIM Chairman of the EU North Korean Resident Society
Ireland Dublin Michael O'Rourke
Scotland Edinburgh Lisa Ross
In Edinburgh there will be a special prayer session for North Korea and a petition drive on behalf the refugees.
USA Chicago Linda Dye
In Chicago there will be screenings of Crossing and Seoul Train as well as a demonstration at the PRC consulate.
Houston Mr. Hairyong Suh, President of the Korean Americans for Liberty and Human Rights
Los Angeles Sam Kim of the Korean American Church Coalition for North Korea Freedom (KCC) with support and help from Korean America veterans led by Colonel Kim Bong Keon and from Young Lee, also of KCC
New York PSALT
For the New York City protest: PSALT NK (Prayer, Service, Action, Love, Truth for North Korea) is organizing a prayer rally and protest in front of the Chinese Consulate in lower Manhattan. Join PSALT in NYC to heighten awareness about China’s role in the plight of North Korean refugees to many passersby, consulate workers, and the Chinese government.
San Francisco Sharon Narita Fong
Washington, D.C. North Korea Freedom Coalition
In Washington DC there will be a demonstration at the PRC embassy at noon featuring North Korean defectors who will be traveling here as well as a special demonstration by North Korean Americans, speakers, prayers and the reading of THE LIST; in the evening there will be a classical music benefit concert to help raise funds for the rescue movement SEE FLYER ON EVENTS at www.nkfreedom.org
SISTER CITIES IN SOLIDARITY -- we are now recruiting cities were there is no PRC embassy or consulate but where folks will take action, plan events -- to join these folks:
Ithaca, New York Professor Jacqui Pak and Cornell students will send email messages together on September 22 to Chinese consulate in New York in support of action there.
Lancaster, Pennsylvania Frank and Joan Testa are planning event
Boston, Massachusetts: Boston college students are planning event
If your country or city is not listed, please consider serving as a city or country coordinator by contacting us at the emails above.
Acta Non Verba!