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ROK Government to establish comprehensive measures to guarantee social stability of North Korean defectors


ROK Government to establish comprehensive measures to guarantee social stability of North Korean defectors

September 2, 2019

□ The Ministry of Unification and relevant government agencies held a ‘Consultative Council on Residents Escaping from North Korea’ on Sept. 2. Participants of the Consultative Council lamented over the unfortunate death of the North Korean defector mother and son, and established comprehensive measures to guarantee the social stability of North Korean defectors.

□ The measures are focused on minimizing blind spots in welfare for North Korean defectors by systematically connecting support systems of relevant agencies and providing a system to search and support defector households under critical situations.

  o The ROKG will carry out a complete survey of vulnerable defector households to actively search for defectors going through hardship due to economic difficulties, illnesses, and/or isolation.

  o The ROKG will actively search for defectors possibly experiencing hardship and connect necessary services such as welfare, education and employment by creating cooperative grounds between the ‘Comprehensive Support Management System for North Korean Defectors’ and the ‘Social Security Information System.’ The Government will subsequently provide follow-up measures.

    - The Ministry of Health and Welfare will expand the term and recipients of the basic living security special support for defectors — households with a defector family member will be eligible, and the duration of support will be expanded to five years regardless of one’s working capabilities.

  o The ROKG will strengthen the role of local governments and the Korea Hana Foundation (North Korea Refugees Foundation) in supporting vulnerable defectors.

    - The Health and Welfare Ministry and local governments will establish a legal basis to allow the head of regional adaptation centers (Hana Centers) to participate in ‘Regional Social Security Consultative Bodies,’ while the local governments share information regarding at-risk defector households through the ‘Regional Consultative Council for Supporting Residents Escaping from North Korea.’

    - The Hana Foundation will increase budget to support vulnerable defectors, carry out visiting counseling services, and enhance consultations through the ‘North Korean Defector Call Center.’

□ The ROKG will further strengthen life-friendly settlement support that has been in progress for North Korean defectors.

  o The ROKG will formulate detailed criteria and procedures to extend the protection period for at-risk North Korean defector households under the ‘North Korean Refugees Protection and Settlement Support Act’(currently 5 years).

  o The Hana Foundation will support and nurture defector groups working for life stability of North Korean defectors to prevent their isolation from the society, and help possible at-risk people to be discovered at an early stage through the North Korean defectors' community.

  o The Ministry of Health and Welfare will supplement support for North Korean defectors in the frontline welfare service delivery system manual, and the Ministry of Unification will improve education of defectors at Hanawon and Hana Center, and publish booklets with necessary welfare support guidelines.

□ The ROKG will thoroughly carry out the measures to prevent such unfortunate accidents from recurring and to allow defectors to stably settle in as members of our society. The Government will exert utmost efforts in preparing for medium and long term measures in cooperation with the National Assembly.