We are looking for essay writers who will help promote the awareness of refugee rights in Korea. NANCEN wants to let the voice of refugees heard as they want to be heard in Korea society. We wish Koreans could come to understand that refugees are not to be feared or pitied. If you are interested in this project, please contact to refucenter@gmail.com, Ku. 

For a Peaceful Life



My name is Daddy, and I am a refugee here in South Korea. It’s going to be more than 2 years now I’ve lived here in Korea with my cousin. But let me know you something about our living condition here in this country as applicants for refugee status. We are still suffering because of the way that this country threatened us as refugees. When we arrived at Incheon Airport and applied for refugee recognition, the situation got more and more difficult for us, we so had a tough time during our stay at the airport. We spent almost 9 months there with difficulties in our living conditions. We noticed a lack of consideration towards us as refugees. They tried all they could to deny us refugee status. We gave them all the proof and tried to show them and convince them we had come here as refugees, but they didn’t understand anything and were very determined to send us back without care for our situation after getting back to our country. We suffered there a lot. Although we showed them that we had a life of plenty in our country and we come here just for our safety. But they didn’t care tried to send us back, as they had done for the other asylum seekers. By the time we arrived, 98% of the people who interviewed for refugee recognition failed. I’ve noticed that immigration is not determined to help refugees. They always find a way to send people who apply for asylum back. During those 9 months, being there at the airport was like being in prison, and with bad treatment towards us, the alimentation was very poor.


We didn’t sleep well because we were in a deportation room in the airport. The light was always on and people were coming and going all the time. There was too much and we couldn’t eat good food. We were eating the same food three meals a day for 9 months. Sometimes they gave us pork, which we couldn’t eat because we are Muslim, and they did know about it. But they were doing all this so that we would just give up and go back home. Even in the morning time we couldn’t have coffee; we were drinking hot water to get something hot in our stomach. My cousin got sick there, and they took him to the hospital late. He couldn’t even breathe, but they took too many hours to take him to the emergency room. The doctor explained that it was a lack of alimentation and sleep. We were very weak. One time they let us go 5 days without food. Finally some people who met us in the deportation room gave us a little food to feed our stomach. In addition, immigration was always menacing towards us by telling us that they would force us to go. We were living with a lot of pressure on us. They wouldn’t give us the number for the UN to contact them. Finally we looked on the internet and got their contact number. After that there was less pressure on us until we got out of the airport. The UN joined us with NANCEN, which helped us to bring our case to the Administrative court. After a long fight, we won the case and entered Korea. But despite the victory, our struggle is not over. The Immigration office turned down our refugee status application and determined to send us back again. We are not free as refugees. We are living with stress and difficult living conditions. We haven’t received any financial help since we’ve come here.


We got a job. This is our first work contract and it took 3 months to find it. We don’t have time to think about our situation, because immigration is putting pressure on the court, and it only extends our visa for 3 months each time. Sometimes it’s very hard to find a job with the visa only valid for 3 months. We never expected that it would be so difficult to live in this country as refugees. This country should be an example for human rights in Asia and all around. They should not put pressure on people who seek asylum. They should be more considerate to us. For example, I was very sick when I caught a cold last year as I was sleeping at a mosque in Winter. Finally my lawyer helped me to get treatment at the Red Cross Hospital. My health was in danger. I had wet lungs, so they removed the water. In addition I had tuberculosis. Our health is not the same, but we are still fighting to get a better life. But the way that the Immigration threats us doesn’t help us. It was not up to us to come here. We just feared for our life, and that is why we ran away from our country. We left our family – father, mother, sisters, brothers, friends and all – to come here just to live a peaceful life, nothing else. We don’t even have a place to rent. If one day they tell us to go, we’re going to be on the street. We are faced with too many difficulties here as refugees. We need more consideration and more time. Our situation is getting worse and we are losing hope day after day with pressure. We left our country when we were too young. With education degrees, we gave up all work, family, studies and all we had. It’s going to be 5 years now we’ve been here in Asia looking for freedom and a better life. South Korea is a country which is well known for the respect of human rights, so there is no reason that they should behave poorly towards us.

* Korean version: http://nancen.org/1721

Posted by 난민인권센터