Three North Korean women joined activists at a panel discussion in New York with the goal of pressuring Beijing to help defectors from the reclusive state rather than sending them back to face severe punishment.
- Lee So-yeon, a former soldier who fled her country in 2008 and is now a leading activist in South Korea.
- Lim Hye-jin originally defected from North Korea in 1998 during the famine crisis.
- Grace Jo also fled North Korea, and wound up in the United States with her mother and older sister in 2008 after facing repatriation by the Chinese authorities.
The three North Koreans were among some 20 people who walked to China’s UN mission from the Armenian Church in Manhattan, where they had gathered for a panel discussion connected with the United Nations’ annual two-week Commission on the Status of Women.
The group attempted to deliver a letter addressed to President Xi Jinping, but was unable to do so as no one answered the door to accept it. The letter asked Xi to provide refugees coming into China from North Korea “safe passage to a third country”, urged him to cease returning them to North Korea and to work with the UN Human Rights Council to safely resettle them.
[South China Morning Post]