September 27, 2023

Time for Britain To Take a Stand on its North Korean Refugees

Migration has long been one of the defining features of human history. From the bands of hunter-gatherers that roamed enormous distances 40,000 years ago to the vast nomadic empires of the ancient world, humanity has been in constant flux. But with the emergence of the Westphalian state system in the 17th century – a system used to this day – this ebb and flow of humanity began to be regulated by concepts such as territorial integrity and political self-determination.

Today’s patchwork of states, borders and passport controls evidence Westphalia’s triumph. There is one place, however, where its concepts have been taken to extremes – the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Here, self-determination can be read as isolation and closed borders are just that, closed. But this is not to say that its citizens do not try to leave. For a few, escape is possible, but what awaits them in a world of similarly sealed borders?