South Korean activists held a rally on Tuesday (June 4) against the forced repatriation of nine North Korean defectors, while urging their government to guarantee the defectors lives and security.

About 100 activists gathered in central Seoul and chanted slogans against the repatriation while holding up placards.

On Monday (June 3) China warned the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees against making "irresponsible remarks" about nine North Korean defectors the U.N. believes were repatriated to North Korea by China last week.

The United Nations said on Friday (May 31) that it was concerned about China's return of the nine young people to North Korea where they face severe punishment, possibly execution, for having fled.

The nine, all believed to be orphans, were first sent back to China after crossing into Laos. The office of the UNHCR said last week it was seeking clarification from both China and Laos.

On Monday (June 3), China said the defectors returned to North Korea on May 28 but it denied Pyongyang had sought to have them returned.

Hundreds of North Koreans attempt to flee their country every year.

Presented by Adam Justice