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U.S. to subsidize civic organizations helping N. Korean defectors

2017/03/14 09:33

SEOUL, March 14 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. State Department has decided to provide subsidies to Southeast Asia-based nongovernmental organizations helping North Korean defectors and refugees, a U.S. broadcaster reported Tuesday.

"We're receiving applications for subsidies from organizations helping North Korean defectors as well as refugees and asylum seekers in three Southeast Asian nations," Radio Free Asia quoted the department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Affairs as saying.

The provision of subsidies is confined to civic organizations based in the three nations -- Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, the bureau said.

The application deadline is April 5, and organizations that qualify for the subsidy will receive US$200,000-550,000 per annum from Aug. 1, according to the bureau.

Southeast Asia is a main defection route for North Koreans, with about 50 per month defecting via Thailand since 2010.