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One in five N.K. defectors experienced discrimination in S. Korea last year: poll

All Headlines 11:51 February 26, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 26 (Yonhap) -- About one out of five North Korean defectors experienced discrimination in South Korea last year mostly due to "cultural" differences, a survey showed Wednesday.

According to the survey conducted by the Hana Foundation, a state-run agency that helps resettlement of North Korean defectors, 17.2 percent of 3,000 defectors polled said that they experienced discrimination last year.

The ratio was slightly down from 20.2 percent reported a year earlier but indicated a still deep-rooted prejudice against those defecting from communist North Korea.

Of them, 76.7 percent said that they were discriminated against because of "cultural" differences such as their way of speaking, manners and lifestyles. It was higher than the corresponding figure of 69.9 percent a year earlier.

South and North Koreans use the same language, but their intonation and the meaning of words along with their lifestyles have become quite different as their division continues.

About 44 percent also cited negative perception against North Koreans as a reason for discrimination, followed by 22.9 percent who cited their lack of skills and poor job performance as discrimination.

The survey, however, showed that 74.2 percent said that they are satisfied with their lives in South Korea as they can enjoy liberty and make money as much as they work.

Those who voiced dissatisfaction cited as reasons separation from their families in the North, fierce competition and social prejudice against them.

As of the end of 2019, the number of North Korean defectors in South Korea stood at 33,523. Last year, 1,047 North Koreans defected to the South, down 7.9 percent from a year earlier, according to the unification ministry handling inter-Korean affairs.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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