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NGOs in dilemma over rescuing N. Koreans in Myanmar

South Korean NGOs face a dilemma over how to rescue 64 North Koreans held by Myanmar rebels and forced to work on a drug farm, an activist said Saturday. The North Koreans have been taken to a rebel camp northeast of Tachilek, a town along the border between Myanmar and Thailand, over the past nine years, Pastor Kim Hee-Tae told AFP. The refugees were caught while attempting to travel on their own through rebel-held territory to Thailand in order to defect to South Korea after fleeing their poverty-stricken homeland.

N. Korean refugees being held by Myanmar rebels

South Korea has launched a probe into allegations that dozens of North Korean refugees were being held by rebels in Myanmar and forced to work on a drug farm, activists said Friday. The investigation followed a report that 64 refugees were taken to a rebel camp northeast of Tachilek, a town along the border between Myanmar and Thailand. The refugees were caught while attempting to travel to Thailand after fleeing their poverty-stricken homeland, Yonhap news agency said.

Myanmar rebel group holding dozens of N. Korean defectors: report

The South Korean government is trying to verify an activist's claim that dozens of North Korean defectors are being held for ransom by a rebel group near the Myanmar-Thai border, an official said Friday. Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung Suk told reporters the government is looking into the claim made by Kim Hee Tae, an activist for a Seoul-based group that assists North Koreans who have fled their country and seek to defect to South Korea.

Myanmar rebel group holding dozens of N. Korean defectors: activist

SEOUL, July 12 (Yonhap) -- Dozens of North Korean defectors are held by a rebel group in a Myanmar region bordering Thailand, and the group is demanding a ransom for their release, a South Korean activist claimed Friday. A total of 64 North Koreans are being used for slave labor in a rebel-controlled district, about 80 kilometers northeast of Tachilek, said Kim Hee-tae, an activist for North Korean human rights.

Movie by N. Korean defectors to be screened in Seoul

SEOUL, June 26 (Yonhap) -- A movie made by North Korean defectors about their countrymen's harrowing escape out of the North is expected to screen in South Korea as early as next month, the production company said Wednesday.

N. Korean documentary to be shown in Toronto

SEOUL, June 22 (Yonhap) -- "The Defector," a documentary film directed and produced by a Canadian-Korean director, will have a free screening in Toronto next month, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported Saturday. The film by award-winning director Ann Shin will be screened at Innis Town Hall of the University of Toronto on July 4, the Washington-based radio station said.

20 N. Korean defectors arrive in S. Korea from Laos: report

Twenty North Korean defectors have recently arrived in Seoul after weeks under the protection of the South Korean Embassy in Laos, a Seoul daily reported Tuesday. "Twenty North Korean defectors boarded a flight in Vientiane to South Korea recently and arrived in South Korea safely," the Chosun Ilbo quoted a diplomatic source as saying. The defectors will be resettled in South Korea after being questioned by related authorities, the source said.


*** TOPIC OF THE WEEK (Part 1) South Korea Demands North Korea Ensure Safety of Repatriated Defectors SEOUL (Yonhap) -- The recent deportation of nine North Korean defectors to their home country from Laos via China has emerged as a diplomatic issue among the related countries as well as rekindling fears of human rights abuse by Pyongyang. Also, controversy persists over who is responsible for the forced repatriation of the nine North Koreans, mostly in their teens and believed to all be orphans.

S. Korea urges N. Korea to ensure safety of repatriated defectors

South Korea on Tuesday urged North Korea to guarantee the safety of nine young North Korean defectors recently repatriated from Laos via China, while it vowed to raise the case at a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council set to take place in Geneva on Wednesday. "Our government strongly urges North Korean authorities to guarantee the lives and safety of the defectors who were forcibly repatriated," Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tai Young said during a news briefing. He called their deportation to North Korea "very regrettable."

P'yang says defectors found in Laos were kidnapped by South Koreans

SEOUL, June 5 (Yonhap) -- North Korea claimed Wednesday that South Korea had abducted the nine defectors who were caught in Laos and accused Seoul and Washington of a smear campaign against Pyongyang. "It was disclosed recently that the south Korean puppet group attempted to tempt and abduct many youngsters of the DPRK to take them to south Korea," an unidentified spokesman for the North's Red Cross said in a statement carried by the country's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). DPRK stands for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
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