Refugees Trapped in Korean Airport

Human RIghts

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South Korea has one of the lowest acceptance rates for refugees in the developed world. As of 2013, there were only about 300 recognized refugees in the country.

Part of the reason for this is a little examined aspect of immigration policy in South Korea.

South Korean border authorities prevent large numbers of people from ever formally applying for asylum in the first place by undertaking a rapid assessment of the validity of their claim before they step foot in the country. Rather than permitting asylum seekers entry for a thorough evaluation, South Korea almost invariably rejects them at the border. The authorities then move them to a temporary detention area for deportation. Asylum seekers, however, may appeal this decision. If they do, they are kept in detention in an area claimed to be outside South Korean jurisdiction. Supposedly located outside the country, they remain unable to apply for asylum. Some remain confined for weeks or months at a time in an area not designed for extended periods of stay.

For more than a year, I have researched this situation at my own expense and on my own time. With your help, I would like to shine a light on the previously unexamined plight of people caught in limbo between South Korea’s official asylum process and the hardship they are fleeing back home.

With contributions of $1,000, I would write a 2,500-3000 word investigative report that would include extensive documentary material and original interview testimony. This amount would include fees for an intern, and a fee for the writer of less than 40 cent a word. Thank you, and I humbly look forward to your support.

About the author: John Power is a journalist who has been based in Seoul since 2010. During this time, he has reported on corruption, fraud and human suffering on many occasions. His work has appeared in numerous outlets including The Christian Science Monitor, The Daily Mail, NK News, UCA News, Asian Geographic, The Korea Observer and The Korea Herald.

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