The plight of North Korean women defectors

Statement by UN Watch
ID: SR on Human Rights in DPRK
Agenda Item 4, UNHRC 31st Session
14 March 2016

Delivered by Ms. Kayoung Kim

Thank you Mr. President.
I am honored to make this statement on behalf of UN Watch.
My name is Kayoung Kim and I am manager of International Affairs at NK Watch, an organization established by the survivors of North Korean political prison camps. Sitting here next to me is Mr. Ahn, a former concentration camp guard who has been a key witness at the COI, whose report we fully endorse.
Mr. Rapporteur,
We thank you for your excellent work for the last 6 years and we wish to raise the issue of North Korean women defectors, which has so far escaped international attention. The situation faced by these women defectors when they are repatriated to North Korea is particularly grave because they become an easy target of sexual harassment by North Korean security agents. This is particularly the case for women in their twenties.
When women defectors are repatriated to North Korea, security agents detain them without any warrant or legal procedure. As soon as they are detained, they are stripped in front of the agents in order to make sure they are not hiding any Chinese money.
Most women defectors, who are illegal aliens in China, allow themselves to fall victim to trafficking and be sold as brides to Chinese men, in order to guarantee their protection. However, when they are repatriated to North Korea and investigated, the agents verbally harass them by continually asking about their sexual experiences with these men. Some defectors are pregnant when they are caught, but are forced to have an abortion by the agents, who consider the Chinese baby a consequence of betraying the fatherland by escaping the country.
My organization has interviewed such women defectors and submitted their testimonies to the Special Rapporteur on violence against women.
Mr. Rapporteur, we ask you to please examine the case of the North Korean women defectors and hold to account those responsible.
Thank you.

UN Watch