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4 Jan 2010

South Korea court grants gay man refugee status

In what could be the first publicly known case of it's kind in Korea and possibly Asia, a gay man who fled his home country for fear of being persecuted because of his sexual orientation has been granted refugee status by a Seoul court.


Article 1 of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees as amended by the 1967 Protocol provides the definition of a refugee:

"A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.."

A Seoul court has ruled in favour of a lawsuit filed by a Pakistani man who had his initial application turned down by the Justice Ministry.

According to the state-run Yonhap News Agency, the man had petitioned the government for refugee status in February of last year but was rejected by the Justice Ministry four month later for not meeting the criteria of a "well-founded fear of being persecuted."

The ministry’s decision was overturned by the Seoul Administrative Court which said that should he be repatriated "there is a high likelihood that the plaintiff will be subject to persecution by the Pakistani government and Muslim society simply because he is gay."

The man was quoted by the agency on condition of anonymity as saying: "My life, as a homosexual, was in danger in my country.”

“My family and relatives were my enemy. They said I was insulting my family, Islam and my country and threatened that they would report me to police," he said.

The agency further added that South Korea signed onto the U.N. Convention and Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees in 1992. Since then, 2,413 foreigners have applied for refugee status and 145 were granted asylum. The first approval was in 2001 for an Ethiopian male.


1. 2010-01-04 22:22  
i'm proud of the decision by the our court about the foreigner's human rights, eventhough he is a illegal immigrant. Our government
must keep protection of his right of life.
applaud to the court's decision.
2. 2010-01-04 22:38  
"The ministry’s decision was overturned by the Seoul Administrative Court saying that should he be repatriated "there is a high likelihood that the plaintiff will be subject to persecution by the Pakistani government and Muslim society simply because he is gay.""
回應#3已於於2013-05-21 11:25被管理員刪除。
4. 2010-01-05 00:11  
That's great! :)

But it would have been better if the man didn't even have to seek refuge in another country in the first place. Hope he finds peace and happiness there.
5. 2010-01-05 00:46  
amazing...a great humanitarian act
6. 2010-01-05 00:54  
blood isn't thicker than water after all...
7. 2010-01-05 02:42  
Good on you Korea! I'm proud of you.
8. 2010-01-05 09:20  
Well done Korea.
9. 2010-01-05 10:57  
3 cheers to South Korea!!!
It's sad and shameful when family, relatives and country, your own flesh and blood, turn against a gay person.
10. 2010-01-05 15:07  
Good job Korea!
11. 2010-01-06 08:26  
Hooray for Korea!! Hopefully other Asian countries can follow such humanitarian decision.
12. 2010-01-06 11:12  
My friend had a good time backpacking through India and Pakistan. From the stories he's told me, there didn't seem to be a shortage of homosexual men in Pakistan. It's amazing how he was able to prove his case. Sexuality as a ground to file for refugee status, now that's a first! This judge needs a GLBT award for his contribution in bring mankind up to the next level :)
13. 2010-01-06 12:21  
It's a good thing, but I'm curious. How do we determine in the rule of law on whom to grant asylum to?

Pakistan seems to be a clear cut case, but what if the refugee was from a nation that has no written laws against homosexuality, but is in fact non-supportive and even quietly hostile towards gays?
14. 2010-01-07 17:56  
aput wrote the wisest words of them all , and I totally concur with his views. Pakistan , as he wrote , seems to be a clear cut case , but what about China for example ? I have lived there , and though gay behaviour is not against the law , it sure is against the staunch family values entrenched in Chinese society. Sad indeed , it was for me to witness the fierce discrimination that gay Chinese have to endure at the hands of their own families. Where do the so many escape to , to avoid living a lie ?
15. 2010-01-07 21:02  
Remind me never to set foot in Pakistan!
16. 2010-01-09 10:54  
Congrats Korea! Koreans, you ought to be proud of your country!
17. 2010-01-10 18:33  
Wait! Pakistan a violator of human rights?? Now, you can't possibly be serious!

Isn't Pakistan (along with Saudi Arabia, where hands are chopped off for unproven allegations of shop lifting) THE foremost ally of the "world's leading proponent of human rights" -- Yankistan (also known as the United Statelets of a Belt of North America Between Canada and Mejico Plus Occupied Hawaii and Alaska)?




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