Most of the refugees for whom ARC knits are hiding in safe-houses along “underground railroad” routes in China and Laos. Authorities in China financially reward local populations for turning in refugees, and penalize citizens for giving food or shelter to escapees of the oppressive North Korean dictatorship.
Alongside the Chinese human rights community, ARC reminds the government of China to honor its status as a signatory to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) 1951 agreement to secure the safety of those seeking asylum. Currently, Beijing continues to breach international law by sending refugees back to North Korea, where they face torture, starvation, and public execution. For obvious reasons, we send only non-descript knitted items in plain, dark colors to refugees in the gravest danger of detection. However, refugees who relocate to safer grounds in neighboring South Korea, Japan, Russia, or Mongolia are free to wear more cheerful, inspiring colors.
ARC prioritizes the safety and security of North Korean refugees traversing hostile territories, but recognizes the emotionally positive influence of vibrant colors. We therefore encourage you to knit with these subgroups in mind.