Two Yemeni asylum seekers have received refugee status in the latest round of application results unveiled by Jeju Immigration Office. 50 other Yemenis were given humanitarian stay permits, while 22 requests were rejected. The two who received refugee status are the only successful applicants out of the more than 400 people from Yemen who applied.
As with the previous round of application results, those who failed can appeal the decision. However, while those who received humanitarian visas or refugee status can leave the island, those appealing can not.
Yonhap News reported the two people who received refugee status were both journalists who had written articles critical of rebel forces. This meant the Immigration Office judged that they were at risk of being persecuted in their home country.
In total, 412 Yemenis received humanitarian visas, while 56 had their applications rejected. Humanitarian visas last for a year and may be renewed.
The arrival of the refugees sparked much debate and protests throughout Korea. While some people were sympathetic to the desperate situation faced by the Yemenis, others branded them “fake refugees” and suggested they were looking to benefit economically by coming to Korea.
The war in Yemen is an ongoing war that began in 2015. The BBC has recently reported that at least 10,000 people have died in the conflict and that millions have been displaced.
Additionally, the UN has suggested the country is at risk of “the worst famine in the world in 100 years.”
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