Save North Korean Refugees Day: Friday, September 22nd

Marcus Noland (PIIE)



Please see below a note from Suzanne Scholte of the North Korea Freedom Coalition on Save North Korean Refugees Day: Friday, September 22.

"Rescue those being led away to death"*

Dear Friends:

Where in the world will you be next Friday, September 22nd for the Worldwide Save North Korean Refugees Day? Will you take part?

We cannot allow the latest provocations of the Kim Jong Un regime to divert us from the root cause of this problem: the atrocious violations of human rights being committed by this Kim regime and abetted by Xi Jinping.

Eighty percent of North Korean escapees carry poison so they can kill themselves if they are arrested in China. They would rather die than be repatriated to North Korea. China’s “repatriation policy is a death sentence for North Koreans”.**

Why Should We Care and Why in September? The situation for North Korean refugees is worse than ever before. There is nothing that Kim Jong Un fears more than the PEOPLE of North Korea who are the ones who have educated us about the horrible suffering in the DPRK. Kim will do everything in his power to prevent their escape and China’s communist government will comply with his wishes despite China’s international treaty obligations. Just recently, a family of five committed suicide rather than face repatriation to North Korea In this case, a senior member of the North Korea’s Worker’s Party with his wife, son and two daughters begged the Chinese security forces not to force them back to North Korea. The World Tribune reported: the Chinese police instead followed an order from Beijing to escort them with heavily armed security guards thousands of miles away to the northeastern province of Liaoning which borders North Korea. Fearing certain torture and imprisonment and possible execution, the family committed suicide by taking poison.

The defectors have repeatedly told us about the close cooperation between the Chinese and the North Korea security forces.

What the Chinese authorities are doing is inhumane, barbaric and illegal. It is a violation of international law as China is a signatory to the refugee convention which it signed in September of 1982 (The People’s Republic of China signed the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol on September 24, 1982.)

Consider that the Chinese government refuses to allow the UN High Commissioner for Refugees any access to these refugees but gives free reign to the DPRK’s Ministry of State Security agents to hunt down refugees and to murder those who try to help them. Even Chinese citizens have been jailed and murdered for helping North Korean refugees.

So, where in the world will you be Friday, September 22nd? Will you take a stand for these men, women and children whose only crime was to try to live? We will provide you anything you need to take part: a sample letter of petition, posters, videos, prayer points, so you can take part. If action is already planned in your city, we will connect you with your city coordinator.

Here’s how you can participate – two possible ways.

Be a City Coordinator: If you live in a city with a Chinese consulate, the role of the city coordinator is very simple: deliver a letter of petition on Friday, September 22nd to the Chinese embassy or consulate calling on the PRC to stop repatriating North Korean refugees. You can plan any additional activity you wish. For example, here in Washington, D.C. the North Korea Freedom Coalition will also hold a demonstration and a candlelight vigil, while in Seoul, South Korea, the Lawyers for Human Rights and unification of Korea are planning a protest, while in Pretoria, South Africa, Ata Gallous is hosting a conference to raise awareness in South Africa about North Korea’s suffering.

Be a Solidarity City Coordinator: Solidarity city coordinators are in cities with no Chinese consulate but who wish to take action for North Korean refugees. You could host a film screening, a prayer vigil, collect signatures, host any event to raise awareness and raise funds for organizations that rescue North Korean refugees. For example, in Ithaca, New York, debuNK is hosting an event to educate students at Cornell about the plight of North Korean refugees, while in Traverse City, Michigan, Sally Jo Messersmith is gathering with friends to pray for North Korea at the Korean War memorial there.

Last year 24 cities worldwide took part in Save North Korean Refugees Day from Pretoria, South Africa to San Francisco, California, from Seoul, South Korea, to Paris, France. For inspiration, you can see the full report of last year’s Save North Korea Refugees Day on our website at If you are interested in being a part of Save North Korean Refugees Day, please reply to this email. If you would like to support these efforts websites are listed below.

We need your voice to be heard!



*Proverbs 24: 11
**testimony of North Korean defectors during North Korea Freedom Week 2017

Suzanne Scholte
Seoul Peace Prize Laureate
President, Defense Forum Foundation
Chair, North Korea Freedom Coalition

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