The Lives of the Two North Korean Defectors Who Have Been Forcefully Repatriated from South Korea Must Be Protected
Dr. Yeosang Yoon (NKDB)
An act that should never have happened in South Korea has unfolded.
According to media reports, the South Korean government handed over two North Koreans to DPRK officials at the border village of Panmunjom in the DMZ at 15:10 on November 7th, 2019. It is the South’s very first deportation of North Korean defectors who have expressed their intent to remain in the Republic of Korea.
The South Korean government revealed that the two North Korean fishermen in their 20s crossed the maritime border (NLL) and were seized by the South Korean navy on November 2nd, 2019. While being interrogated by the ROK’s authorities, the two young men expressed their intention to defect to South Korea. According to the South’s investigators, the two fishermen killed 16 fellow crew members aboard a squid fishing vessel on North Korea’s East Coast before fleeing to South Korean waters.
The South Korean government mentioned the following grounds for sending them back to the DPRK: they are serious criminals and thus denied the rights to be protected under the law, they pose a threat to the safety of South Koreans if they were to be granted entry, and that criminals are not recognized as refugees under international refugee law.
However, the announcement and the reasons for the deportation provided by the South Korean government fail to comply with every law that pertains to the essence of this issue including the South Korean Constitution, North Korean Refugees Protection and Settlement Support Act (hereinafter “North Korean Refugees Support Act”), and all past Supreme Court decisions; and can be defined as a crime against humanity. ......