U.S. LAW AIMED AT HELPING NORTH KOREAN ORPHANS

CNN on May 13, 2013, reported that North Korean orphans who make it to South Korea could be considered relatively lucky. They are provided an education, a path to South Korean citizenship and even a chance at adoption. Excerpts below:

But many North Korean children do not have similar opportunities. Some are in orphanages in their homeland; others make it out of North Korea, only to find themselves stateless and in hiding in China or other countries.

In January, President Obama signed into law a measure designed to help these children. The North Korean Child Welfare Act of 2012 calls for the U.S. State Department to advocate for the “best interests” of North Korean children.

This in s helping reunite family members who’ve escaped North Korea, as well as facilitating adoption for clude North Korean children living outside their homeland without parental care.

But it could be years before Americans are able to adopt any of these children.

The act does not lay out a roadmap for making adoptions or family reunions possible. Rather, it tasks the State Department with making regular reports to Congress on challenges facing North Korean children and developing a strategy to address them.

“Hundreds of thousands of North Korean children suffer from malnutrition in North Korea,” the act reads, and many of them “may face statelessness in neighboring countries.”

In addition to North Korean orphans, the law also refers to children with one North Korean parent — many of whom are born in China from a Chinese-North Korean relationship. Because of the illegal status of North Koreans in China, such children may not be recognized by China or North Korea, rendering them stateless.

Also, they may not have proper registration in China, which is crucial for social services and education, according to human rights organizations.

The new law also calls for the State Department to work with the South Korean government to establish pilot programs to assist in the family reunification of North Korean children.

The South Korean government’s Ministry of Unification wrote in an e-mail to CNN: “If the U.S. government makes a detailed proposal regarding this pilot project in the future, we can decide on whether we will go on with the project after examining various factors.”

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