From 21-24 August 2012, the Korea University Graduate School of International Studies hosted a one-day conference, ‘Government and Civil Society Cooperation to Protect Refugee Rights & Development’, organised by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea and the human rights NGO, Human Asia. It was followed by the meetings of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network. During these meetings, the work on the Korean Refugee Act by by the Korean Bar Association was showcased.
Korea joined the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees in 1992. The country added refugee-related provisions to the Immigration Control Act in 1993 and its Enforcement Decree in 1994. Last year, the ‘Refugee Act’ was passed and will be in full effect July 2013. There is, however, much room for improvement. Korea’s refugee recognition rates are low, as of January 2012, the number of refugees who have been recognised since 1992 is 268 among total 4,011 applicants, and its refugee recognition process lacks equality. This special focus is aimed at raising public awareness of the refugee problems in Korea, and includes Universal Periodic Review on the Republic of Korea, and the Refugee Act of the Republic of Korea. It also includes Kim Jong-chul from the Advocates for Public Interest Law analysis of the passage of a refugee bill in Korea, and advocacy for refugees using the domestic refugee law.We hope by providing an analysis of the passage of a refugee bill in Korea and outlining what remains to be achieved will encourage other countries in Asia to assess their domestic refugee law and critically reflect on what needs to be amended in order to improve the rights and protection of refugees in their care.