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The Sin of the Laos Government

Updated on June 2, 2013
North Koreans crossing the Tumen river to escape
North Koreans crossing the Tumen river to escape

Returning Escaped Refugees Back to North Korea

The recent case of the Laos government handing over nine North Korean defectors back to their home country is a devastating development to those that are trying to escape North Korea too freedom.

Laos was long a path to freedom for those trying to escape the brutal dictatorship of the Kim Jong-un regime and those of his father and grandfather.

These refugees will be subject to torture and maybe murder when they are returned to North Korea while at the very least will be imprisoned in concentration like camps. All because they simply wanted to live a life of freedom.

For people in most of the world and especially the Western world, it's hard to imagine a country that would kill their own citizens just because they wish to leave.

In recent history under communist rule the same thing happened to East Germans that tried to cross the Berlin wall. Many were shot just for trying to leave their country.

Russia was almost as brutal. When I was very young and read about how Russia prevented their citizens from leaving their country I thought it was outrageous, this coming from the mind of a ten year old.

I'm not at all putting the United States in the same category as that of North Korea but it does bother me that the United States doesn’t allow an American citizen to travel to Cuba.

Of course the United States has a completely different rational as North Korea in preventing it's citizens from leaving the country to travel to Cuba. Here is what I do find outrageous.

If I can't go to Cuba because of human right abuses then why I’m I allowed to go to North Korea, Iran, China and other countries where the human rights are, at the very least, the same if not far worse?

I have read many books on North Korea, mainly from those that have escaped the horror found in that country. I'm not comparing the Nazi concentration camps to those in North Korea for shock value or trying to be overly dramatic but instead just making a very close, true comparison. Actually the only thing missing in North Korean camps are the gas chambers and crematories.

North Korea will fall and when it does are we going to be like the people after WWII that professed ignorance of such death camps? These camps in North Korea are nothing more then 21st century concentration camps. The fact is we know, we just know that these camps exist and people are being starved and worked to death under sub-human conditions. Some people are born in these camps for the “sins” of their parents and are not even aware of the world outside of these camps.

Where is the world's outrage? We are focused on the carnage in the Middle East where the killings are done on the world stage while North Koreans are quietly dying out of the public spotlight.

Maybe this is the reason why the United States and Europe are unwilling to publicly raise the issue of these death camps in North Korea. When people die quietly why raise a ruckus? Out of sight out of mind.

Countries such as China and Laos need to be held accountable when North Korea falls for their willingness to return refugees to this brutal regime.

I'm only one voice but I found the web sight of the Laos embassy in the United States and sent the government a comment. I found the email address after the opening screen that consisted of a flower with peaceful music and expressed my displeasure of the Laos government's action in this matter. I stated that the people I have know from Laos are a peaceful people and it was a slap in the face of their own population allowing a travesty such as this, returning innocent people to be tortured and imprisoned.

It's my wish that people will take a minute and leave a comment at the Laos embassy site.

Nine people so close to freedom will now ether die or be sent to a modern day concentration camp because of the actions of a government that wants better ties to the brutal regimeof North Korea

Reply From Laos Embassy


Here is the reply I received a reply back from the Laos Embassy:

Regarding your concern, I would like to inform you our position on the issue as follows:

On May 10, 2013, the police of Oudomxay Province of the Lao PDR detained 11 Koreans and has subsequently transferred them to Vientiane for investigation. As a result of the investigation, it has been identified that nine of them are the citizens of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) aged between 14 to 18 years who have illegally entered into the Lao PDR, while the other two are the citizens of the Republic of Korea (ROK) who have committed human trafficking.

In accordance with the Law of the Lao PDR, particularly the Prime Minister’s Decree No. 136 on Immigration and Foreigners Control, and after the coordination between the Lao authorities and the two Embassies concerned in Vientiane, the Lao side has handed over the nine citizens of the DPRK, and the two citizens of the ROK to their Embassies on May 27, 2013 and May 28, 2013 respectively.

Your kind understanding on the issue is very much appreciated.

Best regards,

Embassy of Laos

The two South Koreans helping these North Koreans were deported for “human trafficking”

What a bizarre twist of wording to equate individuals helping people that are desperate to escape a brutal regime with human trafficking.


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    • redwhiskeypete profile image

      redwhiskeypete 4 years ago from Indiana

      This situation is a pet peeve of mine Fitnezz. I have read over 10 books on Norht Korea the way they treat their people there. The US government doesn't do enough. It's insane that the United States won't let you travel to Cuba for human rights issues but allow you to travel to North Korea.

      Thanks for the comments.

    • FitnezzJim profile image

      FitnezzJim 4 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      This is an awesomely impressive story:

      First – the initiative. Mot many of us will ever go looking for ways to contact the government of a foreign country. Even when we do, we expect nothing but a form response. We’re conditioned to that by the way our own government responds to us. And then, you write about why you contacted, and the response.

      Second - the awareness. Most of us have no clue what conditions are like in Laos and North Korea, other than what we hear on the news, as filtered by the news. Even the news rarely reports on this type of current event.

      Third – the perspectives. The resolution (if you can call it that) is a sad example of how different groups of people hold different points of view. Who would have thought that helping in a quest for freedom could be viewed as ‘committing human trafficking’?

      Nevertheless, I’d think that being exposed to what appears to be irrational reasoning allows us to prepare for that same reasoning. Do you know if our government is aware of this point of view?