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North Korea is home to one of the world's most tragic yet ignored crises today. Government mismanagement of food has left 33 percent of the population undernourished; freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, physical movement and religion are prohibited; and more than 200,000 "violators" are overworked, tortured, raped or executed in five political prison camps. In search for food, work and freedom, up to 300,000 North Koreans have fled to neighboring China, where more than 80 percent become trafficked and children become orphaned or "stateless" with no paperwork or protection. As refugees who must remain in hiding from Chinese authorities who will send them back to punishment or execution, North Koreans flee to Southeast Asia, where they seek friendlier countries that will grant their asylum or allow for their safe resettlement.
Published on May 18, 2010
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