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National Human Rights Commission of Korea hereby calls for the government to devise measures to help the increasing number of Yemeni refugee applicants faced with dire human rights situation.
The Jeju Immigration Service says that as of 24 May, 869 people applied for refugee status and among them 479 are Yemeni. There are a number of families with children.
With the civil war that broke out in March 2015, 20 million people, 70% of the total population are in danger of starving, and 190,000 people left Yemen to avoid the danger of death. Hence, international protection and support is needed for the Yemeni refugees.
However, they are waiting indefinitely for refugee application due to lack of support system, manpower and translation service. In addition, they are not provided with fundamental rights of medical and education amidst lack of housing and means of living.
Every country bears a duty to protect and promote the human rights of its people. However, when people are not protected by their own country, international protection is needed to guarantee the fundamental human rights pursuant to the Convention on the Status of Refugee and in this case, the country that refugees are calling for help bears a prime responsibility to provide the protection.
Accordingly, the government should expand the manpower for immediate refugee application screening and reduce the waiting time. In addition, measures at government level to secure living and housing have to be devised.
Emphasizing with and accepting the Yemeni refugees who had no choice but to leave their own country with a hope to live with human dignity is not a choice. It is a promise with the international community. Hence, the Korean government has to guarantee the rights of refugees that are prescribed under the Refugee convention and Refugee Act.
NHRCK will continue to monitor the guarantee of human rights of refugees and make efforts to enhance human rights situation of refugees.