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UNHCR chief calls on states to respect non-refoulement after North Koreans deported from Laos

Press Releases, 30 May 2013

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, expressed grave concern today over the safety and security of nine North Koreans who were reportedly deported from Laos to China.

According to information shared with UNHCR, the group of nine including five children were arrested in the Lao People's Democratic Republic on 10 May and deported to the People's Republic of China on 27 May. UNHCR is concerned that the deported individuals did not have a chance to have their asylum claims assessed.

"UNHCR is deeply concerned about the safety and fundamental human rights of these individuals if they are returned to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," said High Commissioner Guterres.

Guterres strongly called on all states to adhere to the principle of non-refoulement as a core tenet of customary international law, and refrain from any future measure that could directly or indirectly lead to the return of a person to a country where his or her life or freedom would be threatened.

UNHCR is seeking information on the whereabouts of the nine North Koreans. It is also in contact with the authorities in Laos to establish the initial facts behind this incident and to prevent any future deportation of people of concern.

For further information please contact:

  • In Bangkok, Vivian Tan on mobile +66 81 827 0280
  • In Geneva, Babar Baloch on mobile +41 79 557 9106



UNHCR Tents Reaching Earthquake Survivors in China

The UN refugee agency has provided 11,000 urgently needed tents to China to help with emergency shelter for some of the 5 million people left homeless after the devastating earthquake that struck Sichuan province on May 12, 2008.

The tents, which were manufactured in China for UNHCR, have been transported to the quake zone. The first 2,000 tents were airlifted to the zone and arrived in Chengdu on May 25 and the remaining 9,000 arrived not long after. These tents can provide shelter for 55,000 people. They have been distributed in the cities of Aba, Deyang and Guangyuan, close to the epicentre of the quake.

Posted on 4 June 2008

UNHCR Tents Reaching Earthquake Survivors in China

UNHCR donates tents for China's earthquake victimsPlay video

UNHCR donates tents for China's earthquake victims

The May 12 earthquake in China's Sichuan province caused widespread destruction and death. UNHCR is responding by donating thousands of tents to help give displaced families some shelter while they rebuild their homes.