Sunday, October 11, 2015

Refugees from outside Korea

Last month, a picture of three-year-old  Aylan Kurdi was seen by the whole world lying on the shore  of a beach in Turkey as if sleeping. He was one of the many who fleeing their home country by boat, drowned, when the boat sank, and the boy's body washed ashore.
A number of articles in the Peace Weekly treat this issue, and  mention the difficulties of receiving refugee status in Korea.  A family who has lived  in Korea for the last 3, and half years has been asking for refugee status but was refused, and the chances are slight of a change in the future.

The refugee center has reported that  those  who have asked for refugee status less than 5 % have been granted, which is one of the lowest in the OECD. According to the UN Refugee Agency in 2010, the rate of refugee acceptance is 38% worldwide.  

Over 4 million refugees have left Syria. One article  mentions the three groups fighting each other: Government forces, Islamic State, and other opposition groups. All fighting each other and the people suffer and seek ways to  leave. Pope Francis has mentioned  the number of refugees are as at the time of the Second  World War. 

After July 1st  2013 with the Refugee Law, Korea has increased  the number of refugees coming into the country. For political and religious reasons, they are leaving  Pakistan, Egypt, Syria, Nigeria, Uganda,  China,  Myanmar,  Ethiopia, Bangladesh. From 1994 when Korea accepted the agreement on refugees, 12,208 have applied and  up until July 31 of this year, only 522 have been accepted. Because of the strictness used in determining their status,  the numbers are low.  There are those that are asking the government to be an example to other nations in the number they accept. 

Pope Francis after becoming pope made his  first visit outside the mainland, to the island of Lampadusa (a small island closer to Africa than Italy, where the refugees go before arriving in Europe)  showing concern for those leaving their countries. "We have lost a sense of brotherly responsibility," he said, and "have forgotten how to cry" for the suffering and those dying in leaving their countries. 

The National Council of Churches of Korea a Protestant group has asked all the members to pray for the Syrian refugees and raised money to help them. There are only two citizen groups that are non-profit groups, which are helping the refugees. One article concludes with the hope the government and the different groups in society will take an interest in the plight of these refugees.

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