We are looking for individuals and organizations to unite in a statement condemning the government against discrimination and disgust against refugees! (Closed at midnight June 30)
Joint Statement on World Refugee Day 2020
"The Korean government have to operate refugee policy accord with human rights standards."
2020 is the 7th anniversary of the Refugee Act of the Republic of Korea, and the 28th year since Refugee Convention and Protocol have ratified. Even though the system has been implemented for around 30 years and the number of accumulated asylum applications is over 64,000, strongly condemns the way the government continues to operate the refugee policy, which continues to violate human rights.
2019 was the worst year ever in the operation of the refugee policy, with 6.9% of refugee applications received in port and a refugee recognition rate of 0.4%. Based on 2019, 61 public officials in the refugee screening, and 121 refugee screenings were made per person. Refugee Committee meeting was only held 6 times, sectional committee meeting was also held only 12 times, Up to 1,171 refugee applications were being reviewed per session with a hasty review being conducted.
After the Jeju Yemen Refugees issue in 2018, the number of refugee officials nationwide has increased to 91. But still there is no manpower even though more than 15,000 refugee applications are received annually and there are 3,218 people with humanitarian and refugee status who have to ensure the right to settle.
Since 2015, The TF to solve the problem of refugee screening that has not been reviewed for a long time, In fact, refugee applications were classified on an arbitrary basis and screened. In the process, the government commit a crime "fabrication interview” that led to the creation of 'fake refugees'. Last February, the Ministry of Justice assigned limited opportunities to reapply for victims of the incident. But five years after the incident, Korean Ministry of Justice still no explicit responsibility for victims. Because of refugee screening manipulation and insufficient recovery, many of the victims of human rights abuses had to leave Korea without hearing a word of apology.
The Korean Ministry of Justice gave reasons ‘concerned about possible fake refugee application’, is operating confidentiality in administration by not disclosing Refugee screening and other policy guidelines. They are bringing down the stability and predictability of refugee's lives. Ministry of Justice is seriously undermining the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by abusing detention, indiscriminate personal investigation, Crackdown, Repatriation, departure, and deportation orders and restricts the most basic rights such as residence, labor, medical care, education, and access to information.
1,015 who are accepted as refugee already are still unable to access most social services, even though the right to social security is stated, because they are excluded from each individual statute and policy guidelines, or not properly informed about social services. Even in recent disasters such as COVID-19, the central government and the majority of local governments have implemented explicit policies to exclude refugees. The government has invited 149 resettlement refugees in the past five years. But there is still no systematic and integrated settlement support system for resettlement, causing many problems in the process of settlement. Meanwhile, the humanitarian status permit system has been abused in the process of application, screening, status verification and status assurance in accordance with arbitrary government standards, running counter to international responsibilities such as the Convention on the Prevention of Torture. Most of the humanitarian status, including Yemeni refugees who arrived on Jeju Island, are being violated by the system's vacuum and the government's on the sidelines, including the right to live, labor and health rights.
In the absence of even basic plans and willingness to operate the refugee policy, since the last Yemeni refugee issue, the government has not issued any message to guarantee the rights of refugees, but rather exploited the situation of increased social interest. The government has strengthened its policy of severely restricting the rights of refugees, blocked the right to protect refugees, and put the plan of the retrogressive revision of refugee act based on the content of kicking them out as soon as possible. Promoting the disparity between refugees and non-refugees, nationals and non-nationals, the government's behavior that justifies the policy of discrimination and exclusion is shame and irresponsible.
We strongly condemn the operation of the government's refugee system, which neglects the responsibility of ensuring refugee human rights, abuses its powers, and tramples human rights.
1. The government have to clearly recognizes the responsibility of ensuring refugee human rights; establish a basic plan for the operation of the refugee system.
2. The government and the National Assembly have to stop trying to retrogressive revision of the refugee law, revise the Refugee law to establish a system based on human rights standards.
3. Seeking asylum is rights. Ministry of Justice have to ensure basic rights of refugee claimants, recruit asylum screening officials and add budget, immediately implement a transparent, fair and professional refugee screening.
4. The Ministry of Justice have to clarifies the responsibility and misrecognition for insolvency and interview operations and apologize to victims of human rights abuses and implement sufficient damage recovery.
5. The government have to prepare measures to settle refugees and humanitarian people and ensure social rights.
6. The government have to operate the policy of limiting residence, deportation and detention of refugee applicants will be suspended immediately and ensure right to basic life.
7. The government have to guarantee the opportunity for formal refugee screening for those who apply for refugee status at the port of entry and exit, and solves the system that forces repatriation in violation of their right to survive at the airport.
8. The government have to stop framing refugees as a 'fake' and stop dividing sides that promote social discrimination and exclusion, and come up with a clear message about refugee rights.
2020. 06. 20
Refugee Rights Center, NANCEN