HL Deb 30 April 2003 vol 647 c104WA
Lord Alton of Liverpool

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What negotiations they have had with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Government of China about treaty obligations to provide sanctuary for North Korean refugees. [HL2251]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos)

We regularly raise the issue of North Korean refugees with the Chinese, including at the biannual UK/China Human Rights Dialogue. At the last round of the dialogue, on 21 November 2002, we urged China to allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) access to the border areas and to observe its obligations under the 1951 refugee convention.

However, Her Majesty's Government have not held negotiations with either the UNHCR or China on this issue. We believe that it is for the parties involved to interpret their obligations under this agreement.

We will continue to encourage greater co-operation between China and UNHCR on this issue.