Daniel Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), dotted with land

Daniel SunDr.

Martin SchmidtHumanities I in Action24 January 2018 TheNorth Korean Refugee Crisis IntroductionIn May 2016, more than 200,000 refugees – North Koreandefectors – were hiding in China, fearing for their life. As of 2018, there arelikely to be far more. Why do these people risk their lives to escape NorthKorea and Kim’s regime? This paper will cover why this problem exists and howwe should go about solving this problem.WhyNorth Korean Choose to DefectUnderconditions of extreme poverty and devastating famine, many North Koreans havedefected. If they make it to South Korea, they are almost always granted asylumand citizenship under the South Korean constitution. However, direct defectionby means of crossing through the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), dotted with landmines, razor wire, and a heavy American and South Korean troop presence, isoften an unfeasible choice.

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Most defectors have chosen an alternative route,illegally fleeing into mainland China. The number of defectors is widelyestimated, ranging from several thousand, according to the South Koreangovernment’s estimation, to hundreds of thousands, as estimated bynongovernmental organizations (NGOs).Conversely, there have been certainobservations suggesting that North Korean human rights issues, including thedefector problem, might instigate a regime change in North Korea. With thedevelopment of its nuclear and missile programs, Pyongyang has facedinternational pressure, including UN Security Council resolutions 1718 and1874, which imposed sanctions against North Korea in order to get the countryto halt its nuclear tests and that required it to suspend all ballisticmissile–related activity. In response, North Korea has offensively criticizedthe UN resolutions as a political conspiracy by the United States, Japan, andthe European Union to overthrow its regime and ideology. Thus, arguments havearisen over whether or not human rights issues in the North should be relatedto political and security agendas.

This causes many to doubt that in order to realize thefull potential of the energy mechanism that North Korea is building, we firstneed to Although the North Korean government operates aweapons export program, counterfeits American currency, and sells illegal drugsand fake cigarettes, the majority of its population is impoverished andmalnourished, all except the people in the highest positions who live in Pyongyang.In the past, North Korea has resorted to starvation as a political instrument (Haggard,7), and ordinary citizens are denied basic human rights. All who live in NorthKorea live in fear, worshipping Kim like a god. It is because of this thatthese North Korean defectors take huge risks to escape the country that theyare trapped in the  They believe that a better life is possible outside ofNorth Korea, and want to pursure opportunities in other countries.  TheProblem WorksCitedHaggard, Stephan, et al. TheNorth Korean Refugee Crisis: Human Rights and International Responses. U.S.

Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, 2006.  McComb, Bayley. “10 Facts AboutNorth Korean Refugees You Should Know.” The Borgen Project, 31 Oct.2017, borgenproject.org/10-facts-about-north-korean-refugees/.

 Lee,Shin-Wha, and Kyung-Ae Park. “International Legal Perspectives on North KoreanRefugee Issues.” Non-TraditionalSecurity Issues in North Korea, University of Hawai’i Press, 2013.


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