The Bishop of Peterborough has called for more to be done to help refugees fleeing North Korea.
On Tuesday, February 28, The House of Lords debated North Korea and its disregard for international law. They spoke of the threat to international security by their use of VX, the toxic nerve agent used to assassinate Kim Jong-nam, and the recent missile test in violation of UN Security Council.
Of equal concern is the incarceration and execution of hundreds of thousands of North Korean Citizens who had fled the DPRK. Bishop of Peterborough, the Right Reverend Donald Allister, spoke of those refugees.
“My Lords, I have a particular interest in those who escaped from North Korea, both through my membership of the all-party group and the link that we have in the diocese of Peterborough with the diocese of Seoul in South Korea, which does a lot to support escapees,” he said.
“Can the Minister please tell us whether our Government are talking to the Government of China about their apparent policy of sending refugees straight back to North Korea, where they face execution or incarceration in camps, and whether we will ask China to allow people freedom of passage to those countries which welcome them?”.
Baroness Anelay said that he had raised an important issue. The Chinese government believe that those who flee the DPRK “to save their own lives” are in fact “economic migrants” and are subject to return.
“I can assure the right reverend Prelate that we did indeed raise the issue of forced repatriation of refugees on numerous occasions with China.” She went on to say it is “important that we keep up pressure in this matter”.
The House of Lords discussed supporting those who flee from the despotic regime of North Korea in the same month the House of Commons voted to reduce the numbers of child refugees from entering the UK.