UK block on North Korean refugees prompts human rights appeal to May

UK will now automatically ship away those who escape from one of the world’s most oppressive regimes

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The Independent Online

Home Secretary Theresa May has been urged to rethink the new policy of refusing North Korean refugees asylum in the UK.

The Government has quietly confirmed that Britain, home to more North Korean refugees than anywhere else in Europe, will now automatically ship away those who escape from one of the world’s most oppressive regimes. Estimates of those already here range from 630 to 1,000. 

Under a tribunal ruling last year, North Koreans can be sent to South Korea when they arrive in the UK, typically after a torturous journey through China, because Seoul has granted them dual citizenship. But there are complaints that North Koreans are treated poorly by their richer, better-educated neighbours.

James Burt, policy officer at the European Alliance for Human Rights in North Korea, said: “The South Korean Government should clarify whether North Koreans who have never set foot on South Korean soil, and do not wish to be South Koreans, would be awarded citizenship.”

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