SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - Though many North Korean refugees have lived outside of their former totalitarian homeland for only a few years, that isn’t stopping a growing number of them from participating in South Korea’s democracy.
Just two months ahead of South Korea’s legislative election, a pair of North Korean defectors announced they will run for seats in parliament. Separately, a group of North Korean defectors is trying to form their own political party.
The unprecedented attempt at political organization underscores the dissatisfaction felt by many defectors, who are among the poorest class in wealthy South Korea. Many feel discriminated against and not properly equipped to handle life in a capitalist country.
“We’ve been treated as foreigners” in South Korea, said defector Ahn Chan-il, at an event this week announcing the launch of what is tentatively called the Inter-Korean Unification Party. “Now we have a central network to enhance our activities.”
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