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DATE=1/13/2000
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
TITLE=UNHCR NORTH KOREA REFUGEES (L-ONLY)
NUMBER=2-258044
BYLINE=LISA SCHLEIN
DATELINE=GENEVA
CONTENT=
VOICED AT:
INTRO:  The United Nations refugee agency, the U-N-H-
C-R, says it is seriously concerned by China's 
decision to deport seven people to North Korea where 
they could face severe reprisals.  Lisa Schlein says 
the Geneva-based agency has sent a letter to the 
Chinese government protesting the action.
TEXT:  Late last year, seven people, including a 13-
year-old boy, fled North Korea across China into 
Russia.  Last month, the U-N refugee agency recognized 
the seven North Koreans as refugees after they had 
arrived in Russia.
The U-N-H-C-R's spokesman, Ron Redmond, says the 
agency informed both the Chinese and the Russian 
governments about its decision to grant them refugee 
status.  He says the agency also told them it would 
try to resettle the group of North Korean refugees in 
a third country.
Mr. Redmond says Russia ignored the agency's pleas and 
deported the seven to China on December 30.
            /// REDMOND ACT ///
      In Beijing, (the) U-N-H-C-R then appealed to the 
      Chinese authorities not to send these people 
      back to North Korea.  But, this week, we were 
      informed by the Chinese foreign ministry that 
      they had indeed been sent back.  They didn't say 
      why they were deported or how it happened.  But, 
      we are gravely concerned by this Chinese 
      decision to deport people whom we have 
      recognized as refugees under the 1951 Refugee 
      Convention.
            /// END ACT ///
Mr. Redmond calls the Chinese action a violation of 
the 1951 convention.  He says the convention is the 
cornerstone of international refugee law.  And, that 
it clearly bans the forcible return of refugees to 
areas where they could face danger or persecution.
Mr. Redmond says the U-N agency believes the seven 
refugees can face severe reprisals in North Korea.  In 
a letter sent to the Chinese government, the U-N-H-C-R 
protested the violation of the 1951 convention and 
fundamental humanitarian principles.  The agency also 
has urged the North Korean authorities to treat the 
seven deported refugees humanely. (Signed)
NEB/LS/GE/JP
13-Jan-2000 12:01 PM EDT (13-Jan-2000 1701 UTC)
NNNN
Source: Voice of America
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