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Please Mail this Letter
to UNHCR Offices

January 15, 2004

For your reference, below is a sample support letter. We urge you to adapt the contents into your own words and send you letter to the UNHCR offices listed at the bottom of this page.

Dear UNHCR Staff,

I have learned that yet another Japanese humanitarian aid worker, Takayuki Noguchi, was arrested together with a Chinese interpreter last month while trying to help two North Korean defectors in Nanning, China. I am deeply saddened that, after more than one month, they are still being detained.

I know that it should be the job of UNHCR to help those North Korean people qualified as refugees. But such tragedies as this continue to happen because UNHCR has not yet begun fulfilling its mandate to rescue North Korean defectors.

I was deeply moved by the words of Mr. Noguchi. From jail, he reportedly insisted that he did not mind staying in detention until the North Korean refugees are safely released to a country of their choice.

Nearly all the aid workers risk their lives, I believe, to help the North Koreans, without receiving a bit of compensation. The UNHCR, meanwhile, receives what we understand are huge donations from many countries, including those in Europe, North America and Japan. Would you kindly show specific activities being carried out or planned by the UNHCR to help North Korean refugees?

I am convinced that you, as a UNHCR member, are also moved by the same fundamental humanitarian urges that drive those aid workers to risk danger to help people in great suffering. I am sure that you believe, as they do, that it is a tragedy to ignore a single person needing help.

Individuals and citizen volunteers are limited in what they can do. That is why I strongly urge you to seriously address this issue since your organization has the legal right –- a mandate in fact –- to negotiate with the Chinese government.

I understand that the agreement concluded in 1995 between China and UNHCR states that UNHCR staff are entitled to unimpeded access to refugees in China.

Please move now to stop China’s wholesale arrest of North Korean refugees and humanitarian aid workers. Boldly initiate rightful procedures for mandatory binding arbitration and halt the growing flood of arrests. I urge UNHCR to take action immediately to save the North Korean refugees and the aid workers still being detained in China.

Sincerely yours,

Your name here

Mail your letters of support to:

UNHCR Beijing Office:

UNHCR Tokyo Office:

UNHCR International Headquarters: