Conflict & Justice

Laotian Officials Send North Korean Teenage Defectors Home

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Protesters from a human rights group hold signs during a rally against Laos' recent repatriation of nine North Korean defectors, in front of the Laotian Embassy in Seoul May 31, 2013. A United Nations human rights investigator and the U.N. refugee agency voiced concern on Thursday about the fate of nine North Korean defectors, some of them children, who were sent back to China this week from Laos after trying to cross the border. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji (SOUTH KOREA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST SOCIETY IMMIGRATION) - RTX106PM

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REUTERS

In the photos released by the South Korean government, they look like your typical teenage group touring abroad, wearing matching green shirts, and throwing up peace signs for the camera.

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But this group was no teen tour, they were North Korean defectors in Laos en route to South Korea.

The teens were detained by Laotian authorities and sent back to North Korea through China.

This move that has caused uproar in the region and sets a dangerous new precedent says Greg Scarlataoiu, the executive director of The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea.