Aid Imperative For North Korean Defectors
Aid Imperative For North Korean Defectors
  • Ewha Voice
  • 승인 2004.09.09 00:00
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Fifteen years after the Berlin Wall fell, the energy-deprived North Korea is echoing the former East German government. Few in the South desire or expect an imminent mass exodus to murk North Korea in the way the 1989-1990 rush to West Germany fatally sapped East Berlin? legitimacy and workforce. Nonetheless, there was an airlift of 468 North Korean refugees from Southeast Asian country to Seoul. Aid workers, many from evangelical Christian groups, predict at least 100,000 North Koreans are still hiding, mostly in China.
Unification Minister Chung Dong-young said that the government will come up with comprehensive measures to deal with a mass influx of North Korean defectors entering South Korea. ?e need to review and upgrade the overall defectors-handling policy, he said. Currently, there are more than 5,000 North Korean defectors in Seoul.
A twenty two year-old North Korean refugee who came to the South two years ago and currently lives in Busan comments that life in Korea is harsh because of many reasons. The defector mentions that at workplaces adults from the North face barricades because of thier lack of ability, whereas children confront discrimination at schools. ?he government does supply the defectors from the North with various fundings and trainings, states the refugee from the North. He, however, believes that the government is too negligent with issues regarding the psychological instability and anxiety that the defectors feel after fleeing their nation.
As the number of North Korean refugees increases, the more active becomes the role of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The Ministry of Unification estimates that there are approximately 58 private organizations created to educate and help the North Korean defectors with adaptation and finding jobs. ?he government surely has limits concerning the North Korean refugees and that is why it is imperative for the South Korean citizens and nongovernmental organizations to cooperate and promote peace for the defectors, stated Assistant Director of Inter-Korean Policy Division.
Currently there is a club in Ewha Womans University called ?ootsteps which provides Ewhaians the chance to help the young North Korean refugees by tutoring them. Usually students go to Hanawon (the state-run re-education center for the North? defectors) or visit the homes of the children in order to teach them basic subjects. Lee Soo-ah (International Studies, 2) a member of ?ootsteps says, ?eaching the kids from the North has eradicated any strereotype I had against the North defectors and truly opened my eyes to the agonies and sorrows of the escapees from the North. It is just a pity that many college students in South Korea are unaware of issues like this. ?t this point of time, it is of utmost priority for the South Korea? general public to cure and alleviate the scars left on the souls of North Korean defectors in order to promote lasting peace and growth, stated Lee.

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