Canadian citizens will be able to sponsor fleeing North Koreans for the first time

Sponsor fleeing N. Koreans

A human rights organization says Canadians will be able to sponsor people fleeing North Korea under a new program to help refugees escaping Kim Jong Un's authoritarian regime.

HanVoice says a pilot program being launched next February will allow Canadian citizens to sponsor women and children who have fled to a neighbouring country, such as Thailand.

Refugees who head to China from North Korea are sent back if caught, while those who make it to Thailand have no official status.

HanVoice says the pilot program will start next February with sponsorship of five families who have already fled to Thailand.

The human rights group says Canada's Immigration Department will process and vet the applications.

The department did not respond to a request for comment.

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