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Date : June 13, 2013
More North Koreans Hiding in Laos
   http://thediplomat.com/asean-beat/2013/06/11/more-north-koreans-hiding… [875]
Many North Korean refugees pass through Laos on their way to freedom in South Korea. Recently, nine North Korean refugees were apprehended in Laos, and repatriated to North Korea via China. No one knows exactly what punishment the nine refugees have received for fleeing their homeland, but the United Nations stated that it was extremely concerned for them, and believed they were "at risk of severe punishment and ill-treatment".
 
In light of this tragedy, South Korean diplomats announced that another twenty North Koreans seeking asylum are taking shelter in the South Korean embassy in Laos. These twenty asylum-seekers include children, people with physical disabilities, and cancer patients. They are reasonably safe inside the confines of the embassy, but their future is far from certain, particularly given the treatment of the nine refugees recently repatriated.
 
Laos is hardly a beacon of light regarding human rights, and with China emerging as a principal investor in Laos and its ambitious infrastructure program, it is unclear whether Laos will become friendlier to North Korean refugees or if it will treat them like China does, swiftly sending them back to the Hermit Kingdom to endure torture, imprisonment, and sometimes even execution.
 
Source: The Diplomat

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