The Korean government's disapproval refugee status to Burmese activists for democratisation of Burma is unjust and the Korean government should reconsider its decision. sign now


Ministere for Justice
No.(88),Kwan Mun Ro
Kwa Chun Shi,
Kyongyi Do (427-702)
Republic of Korea

c/- National League for Democracy (Liberated Area)Korea Branch
165-9(102)Simkog-2Dong,Wonmi-gu,Bucheon City,Kyung-gi Do,420-012,
Rebulic of Korea

Re: Application for review of decision to refuse refugee status.

We have the honor to refer to the statement dated 21st April 2005 from the civil organizations of the republic of Korea.The appeal for the nine applicants to live in the country on compassionate and humanitarian grounds that they may be eligible for refugee status.

The current situation, under the heal of an authoritarian military regime in Burma,where there is no freedom or no fundamental rights, where the Generals rule the country and where weapons legitimize the power of the government which is running the nation under harsh law.We strongly believe that the nine pro-democracy activists must genuinely fear for return to Burma.

We sincerely urge for your reconsideration in this matter,in favor of the nine applicants who are looking forward to living in the republic of Korea legally solely depend on your discretion granting refugee status.

Under the circumstances as per following statement, we the fellow democracy activists fully support the appeal from civil organizations of Korea on behalf of nine applicants.

1. U Khin Maung Yin
2. U Kyaw Moe Lwin
3. U Maung Maung Soe
4. U Zaw Moe Aung
5. U Win Myint Oo
6. U Maung Zaw
7. U Kyaw Kyaw Lwin
8. U Thet Naing Oo
9 U Maung Maung Zaw

The statement from the civil organizations Republic of Korea, 21st April 2005.

The Korean government's disapproval to grant refugee status to Burmese activists for democratization of Burma is unjust and the Korean government should reconsider its decision.

1. April 20th, Korean government made its final decision not to grant refugee status to 9 Burmese activists and ordered them to leave Korea in 5 days. It was final decision on the activists?appeal filed 17th on the MOJs decision made on the 11th of March. However we, civil organizations of Korea that support the democratization of Burma and protect universal value of human rights suspect that there has been a serious error in the evaluation process and insist the Korean government should reconsider its unfair decision.

2. These 9 applicants applied for the refugee status 5 years ago, in May 2000. However, since then the Korean government left them in negligence without providing minimum protection and support to which the applicants are entitled and did not make an effort in collecting evidence that could affect in determining applicants?eligibility to gain refugee status. In this regard, it was a shock to hear that 5 years after, all of a sudden, the Korean government announced its decision to reject applications and ordered them to leave Korea within 5 days. Luckily, on the 18th, the applicants submitted a request to gain an approval to extend their stay and were granted 3 months extension. However, the extension means nothing more than some time given for the preparation of departure and they will certainly be deported from Korea after 3 months.

3. The reason for Korean governments rejection of applications submitted, in fear of political oppression, by the Burmese activists is that in light of information and statement submitted by the applicants, they do not fall under the category of a sufficiently reasonable fear state?provided by the Article 5 of the Refugee Agreement. The decision casts doubts over whether the Korean government was aware of Burmas military dictatorship and whether the decision took Burmese activists?efforts in Korea for democratization of Burma into consideration.

4. According to the assertions made by the applicants, not even once, an appropriate translation support was provided in the 5 years of evaluation. Furthermore, even if the interview should be conducted individually for individual private life and protection, the interviewers from immigration office asked them several questions about how they were getting along in a high handed manner in the same place at the same time. Due to communication problems during the interview, the assertions and situations of the applicants were not properly conveyed. To find out whether it actually was the case, the applicants requested the immigration office to show the interviews but it was rejected. After that, Citizens?Action Network, one of Koreas civil organizations requested MOJ to release the information on guidance MOJ follows to grant refugee status to the public but also rejected on the ground that ?it is relevant facts to the na! tional security, defense, reunification and diplomatic relations.?amp;nbsp; As a result, these applicants do not know according to what guide line their applications were rejected.

5. MOJ overlooked the uniqueness of present political situation of Burma as mentioned previously. The 9 applicants are activists who fought for democratization of Burma for 40 years since 1962 against the military dictatorship. In Korea, they participated in street campaigns and demonstrations in front of Burmese embassy to gain concern and support from Korean people and assemblies and demonstrations for democratization of Burma and overthrow of the military dictatorship. Thus, it is easy to guess that the Burmese military government already has information about who these activists are through Burmese embassy in Korea. Considering that currently thousands of innocent students and civilians have been sentenced to capital punishment or imprisoned for a long time for their efforts in democratization of Burma without proper legal procedures. The claim that their activities do not fall under a sufficiently reasonable fear st! ate?is not persuasive. Furthermore, when the applicants were informed of rejection, the investigators did not take the situation of Burma seriously and even made a harsh and insensitive comment that ?Even if you go back to Burma, you are not likely to be killed.?amp;nbsp; As citizens of Korea, we can not even imagine the sorrow these people must have felt from insincere attitude of investigators and disappointment in the response of the Korean government.

6. We, civil organizations believe that despite serious error in the evaluation process of granting refugee status, the Korean governments notice to applicants of the rejection and deportation order can not be justified and it is an irresponsible act that will leave them to die. Korean governments response makes us wonder if this government, a country joined in major international covenants such as the Refugee Agreement and the International Human Rights Agreement, is able to fulfill its role in the international arena. The Korean government's unjust decision would not have been made if participation of experts who can conduct through analysis of the current situation of Burma by taking refugees?background into consideration and take a different approach from humanistic point of view was ensured in the decision making process of the Refugee Status Grant System of MOJ.

7. Considering the Korean government's insincere process of determining the eligibility of granting refugee status which gave the applicants humiliation, the decision clearly has a serious mistake and should be reconsidered and we, civil organizations will use all the available means to change the decision.

CIVIL ORGANISATIONS OF KOREA:

10 USD members for Democratization of Burma
Amnesty International S. Korean Section
Association for Foreign Worker/s Human Rights In Pusan
Bucheon Migrant Workers House (BMWH)
Citizens?Action Network (CAN)
Citizens?Solidarity for Human Rights
Korean House for International Solidarity (KHIS)
MinByun ?Lawyers for a Democratic Society
Nawauri
People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD)
Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights of Asia
Solidarity for Asia Human Rights and Culture


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Stella ShermanBy:
People and OrganizationsIn:
Petition target:
The Honorable Minister

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