Shock Waves Aamong Asylum Seekers as Canada Closes Doors to North Korean Refugees

Asylum seekers from North Korea are shocked at the decision of the refugee appeal tribunal for overturning a North Korean’s refugee status.

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Mohali, Chandigarh -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/27/2013 -- A recent decision made the refuge appeal tribunal has sent shocking waves among asylum seekers from North Korea. The refugee appeal tribunal has overturned a North Korean’s status saying that a North Korean national is automatically considered a citizen on South Korea.

Minseo Kim, a kinder garden teacher from Pyongyang along with her husband Jae Sung Kim and Sangah Ree were accepted as a refugee in Canada until the federal government challenged saying that Minseo Kin was automatically a safe citizen of South Korea as she was a North Korean national. Though they were granted asylum by the Immigration and Refugee Board in April 2013 when they came to Canada via South Korea in early 2013.

Kim is grieved after receiving the decision of the government’s appeal. She said – “When I passed the refugee hearing, I cried out of happiness,” and, “when I received the decision of the government appeal, I cried for sadness.”

Kim is again waiting for a new hearing and said that North Koreans face discriminations in South Korea. She told that North Koreans face biases in employment and are ill-treated as they speak in a different accent. She told that North Koreans are always looked upon with suspicion and South Koreans think that they are all spies.

Immigration minister Chris Alexander too appealed the decision with the newly made refugee division. He said that Kim and Rhee should not be recognized as refugees because North Koreans are automatically considered safe citizens of South Korea.

Looking at the history, refugees from North Korea had an acceptance rate at 72% in 2010. The number of asylum seekers has been increasing at a very fast pace till then. Chung Woong Cho, who is a member of Toronto’s Alpha Korean United Church, said that Kim’s case is the first in which a positive North Korean’s asylum decision has been challenged by Ottawa. He said that the good days of North Korean refugees are over now. The doors of Canada are closed for them now.

Over the past year, Ottawa has listed 35 nations as safe for the refugees and said that South Korea is also a part of that list. It also said that it has no plan to put the label of safe country on North Korea.

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