IOM Seoul Co-hosts Conference on Health of North Korean Migrants
IOM Seoul and the South Korean government-affiliated North Korean
Refugees Foundation will on Monday open a two-day international
conference on the health of North Koreans resettled in South Korea.
The event, which is expected to draw some 200 participants from
government, civil society representatives and academia, will look
at health issues facing the over 22,000 former North Koreans who
have resettled in the South – some 80 per cent of whom are
women aged between twenty and forty.
"Many of these people have endured terrible hardships, including
human trafficking, while migrating across multiple borders. On
arrival they also have to adapt to a completely different physical,
social, and cultural environment. This can often result in
illnesses that negatively impact on their successful integration
into the South Korean society," says IOM Seoul Chief of Mission Dr
Keynote speaker Prof. W. Courtland Robinson of Bloomberg School
of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University believes that the
group's health needs to be examined from an international migration
"The population embodies demographic, epidemiological and
migration transition, as they have emigrated from a poor country
with infectious diseases-induced high mortality, to a rich country
with an aging population and high immigration," he says.
"Improved understanding of the North Koreans' health would
better inform our health policies and programmes, and contribute
greatly to the population's successful integration," says Professor
In-jin Yun, President of the Association for North Korean Migrants
The conference, which is funded by the US State Department's
Bureau of Population Refugee, and Migration (PRM), will also mark
the launch of the Korean version of IOM publication: Caring for
Trafficked Persons: Guidance for Health Providers. Copies will be
distributed to participants.
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