October 23, 2021

Number of defectors entering resettlement center drop 85% in 1st half of 2021

North Korean defectors finding it difficult to reach South Korea amid COVID-19 border lockdowns, say ROK authorities

Only 57 North Koreans entered South Korea’s defector resettlement facility during the first half of this year, according to a report released Wednesday, as COVID-19 lockdowns make cross-border migration more difficult to escape North Korea and transit through other countries.

The figure marks a sharp 85% decrease from 380 people during the same period last year, according to the Settlement Support Center for North Korean Refugees, also known as the Hanawon. Almost all defectors entering South Korea go through the center’s programs designed to assist them with resettling.