MEDIA ADVISORY for April 30, 2021
Former USG Officials, Activists Appeal to President Moon to Save Korean Families Detained in China, Citing Dangers of Repatriation to North Korea
(Washington, DC.) For the closing day of the 18th annual North Korea Freedom Week, representatives of the North Korea Freedom Coalition will stop by the Embassy of South Korea in Washington, D.C. to deliver a letter of appeal to President Moon Jae-in on Friday at 11:45 AM, April 30, 2021, on behalf of the North Korean families currently detained in prison in China.
"We would normally be protesting at the Chinese embassy to save the lives of North Korean refugees during North Korea Freedom Week," explained NKFC chair, Suzanne Scholte, "but this time we are asking for President Moon to help them, as North Korea has closed its border and is no longer accepting refugees forcibly repatriated by China. We are especially concerned about two families with relatives in South Korea and will be providing photos for the Moon administration with the fervent hope they will act on their behalf." said Scholte.
The bipartisan appeal has been signed by 23 former U.S. Government officials representing every U.S. Presidential administration since Richard Nixon and includes both President Barack Obama and George Bush's Special Envoys for North Korea human rights, Ambassador Robert King and Jay Lefkowitz as well as Richard Allen, who saved the life of Dae Jung Kim while he served President Ronald Reagan and Roberta Cohen, who set up the first human rights bureau at the State Department for President Jimmy Carter.
"This is a tremendous opportunity to request that China for humanitarian reasons allow these refugees to be released to South Korean authorities and help decongest Chinese detention centers," Scholte added. "There is plenty of space at Hanawon because the COVID pandemic has made it so difficult for North Koreans to escape."
The full text of the letter with signatories to be delivered Friday morning, April 30th is attached.
North Korea Freedom Week is an annual event sponsored by the North Korea Freedom Coalition to promote the freedom, human rights and dignity of the North Korea Freedom Coalition. This year's theme was OPEN! North Korea. Open Minds, Hearts, and Borders.