Chairperson’s Statement on Yemeni Refugees
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea expressed its deep concern over the circumstances of the 56 people not recognized as refugee and humanitarian stayers as a result of refugee application screening announced by the Ministry of Justice, and urges the government to revise policies on protection of the refugee in line with international human rights standards.
The Ministry of Justice said that the applicants were not recognized as refugees because they were “people who applied for refugee status to avoid civil war or forced recruitment of rebels.”
“Persecution”, which is a requirement for recognition of refugees, means “serious violation of human dignity or discrimination, including threats to life, body or freedom.”
In May 2015, the UNHCR announced its “position on repatriation to Yemen’which recommended to each country to grant access to territory to civilians who escaped Yemen and to stop forced repatriation to Yemen. Based on this, Yemeni refugee applicants are internationally recognized that they are not subject to forced repatriation. In addition, ‘escape from civil war or forced conscription’ is one of the most common reason to protect refugee and cannot be used as a reason to disapprove refugee status application.
Considering these facts, it is pointed out that the fact that only two applicants are recognized as refugee and others are permitted to stay as humanitarian stayers is a uniform decision made in hurry in order to resolve negative public opinion regarding refugee.
The NHRCK hopes that the Korean government revise its policy on refugee in line with international human rights standards and prepare clear position and measures for the protection of refugee. The NHRCK will also continue to make efforts including thoroughly reviewing refugee screening process for possible room for improvement in order to better protect the human rights of refugees.