North Korea (Wire)

S. Korea’s rights watchdog eyes ways for better resettlement of N.K. defectors

The Korea Observer
Yonhap News
Written by Yonhap News

SEOUL, Dec. 28 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s human rights watchdog is considering recommending the Unification Ministry improve resettlement programs for North Korean defectors to help ease social prejudice against them, officials said Monday.

More than 28,000 North Korean defectors have moved to the South for freedom, but many are facing difficulties in finding jobs or resettling due to deep-rooted prejudice, according to the National Human Rights Commission.

An official at the commission said that it is considering whether to make policy recommendations to the ministry handling inter-Korean affairs on how to enhance resettlement schemes for them.

The watchdog made a similar move in November 2013, citing the need to correct social discrimination.

At that time, policy recommendations included ways to better link job training to employment and the improvement of legal protection for defectors.

About 25 percent of some 13,000 defectors said they have undergone discrimination and been neglected due to their backgrounds over the past one year, according to a survey by the ministry and its affiliate handling their settlement released in February.

The poll showed 68.6 percent of those surveyed cited their ways of speaking and other communication problems, followed by negative perception toward North Korean defectors, as reasons for their being discriminated.

“To raise awareness of North Korean defectors, the government plans to make further efforts to develop the programs to help them resettle well here,” said a ministry official.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr

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