N. Korean refugee in Russia gets temporary asylum on fourth try

A defector who almost faced repatriation back to North Korea finally received asylum as a refugee for a period of one year after submitting four applications to Moscow’s immigration office, a Russia based civil organization reported on Thursday (June 16).

The defector known only as “Kim” arrived in Russia in late 2014, after escaping from North Korea in 1997. His applications on January 2014, November and December 2015 were dismissed. The Russian Federal Migration Service (FMS) said Kim’s life was not in danger should he return to North Korea.

“Russia’s Federal Migration Service has granted temporary asylum to a North Korean refugee who has been seeking this status since 2013. The foreigner has held his new status since May 26, having had his application rejected on three occasions previously,” the Civic Assistance Committee, an NGO based in Moscow, stated on its website.

“The South Korean government’s tendency is trying to rescue overseas defectors … however, Russia itself is very cautious on accepting refugees,” Cho Han-bum, senior researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification, told NK News.

The organization has also criticized a recent agreement between the DPRK and Russia. A deal originally signed in November last year was upgraded in February, and now allows the “transfer and admittance of individuals who had unlawfully entered and (are) unlawfully staying in both countries.”

“All citizens of North Korea who seek help from the FMS must receive refugee status,” the chairman of the NGO Svetlana Gannushkina said on its website.

International human rights organization echoed the sentiment. “Russia has an obligation to protect all North Korean refugees, who face torture and detention if forcibly repatriated to North Korea,” Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch told NK News.

According to a media statement released by the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, there are an estimated 10,000 North Koreans regular workers in Russia, some of whom stay in the country after their contracts have expired, in order to seek asylum.

Source: nknews.org 

Author: Augaritte

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