July 28, 2008

North Korean Refugees Granted Temporary Stay in Czech Republic

Text of report in English by Czech national public-service news agency CTK

Prague, 28 July: Five refugees who fled from North Korea to China have found asylum in the Czech Republic, Interior Ministry spokeswoman Jana Malikova told CTK today.

The refugees faced a risk of being expelled home, so Czech Interior Minister Ivan Langer offered them a temporary residence in the Czech Republic, Malikova added.

The North Koreans should stay in the Czech Republic until they leave for the United States that has promised political asylum to them.

The Czech government decided about the country's participation in the programme of refugees' re-settlement in late June.

Malikova said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had asked Langer for urgent aid over the refugees in China at the end of last week.

"These people could not be granted any form of international protection. On the contrary, they were threatened with immediate expulsion to North Korea that is infamous for the totalitarian regime," Malikova noted.

Originally published by CTK news agency, Prague, in English 1140 28 Jul 08.

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