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Jan 4, 2010

Refugee Status Granted for Pakistani Homosexual

The Administrative Court in Seoul ruled that the Korean Ministry of Justice's determination that a gay Pakistani did not have a "well-founded fear of being persecuted" was incorrect. The man's "well-founded" fear, according to the Administrative Court, stems from his alleged homosexuality and fear of the Pakistani government and/or family members. Pakistani has laws that allow the punishment of openly homosexual individuals.


The case can be appealed to the Supreme Court.

To date, around 2,500 individuals have applied for refugee status in Korea and less than 150 of the applications have been approved. The approval rate in recent years is on the rise. Many of the petitioners apply only after being apprehended for immigration violations.

The Ministry of Justice, since the Lee Administration, has dedicated more resources and attention to asylum seekers. The approval rate will likely rise, however, in these more unique of cases the Ministry is much less likely to grant asylum.

I had the pleasure to meet some of the individuals at the Korean Legal Aide Corporation (KLAC) and the Ministry of Justice that have worked on immigration and refugee matters. The Ministry and the KLAC are working closely with international human rights agencies and the UN to fix many of problems facing foreigners in Korea.

Long-term residents have noticed significant changes at the immigration bureau. Korean immigration is under the Ministry of Justice.

This article can be found in Korean here.

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SeanHayes@ipglegal.com