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Korea’s Landmark Case for Improving the Legal Process for Asylum Seekers

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A Focus on Detention, Deportation and the Right to Counsel

image of The Korean Journal of International and Comparative Law

The purpose of this article is to analyze the principle of non-refoulement as applied in four important recent Korea court decisions regarding the asylum-seeking process at ports of entry. Incheon District Court decision 2014 Gu-Hab 30385 and Seoul High Court decision 2014 Nu 52093 concern a non-referral decision; Inchon District Court decision 2014 In 39 concerns illegal airport detention; and Constitutional Court decision 2014 Heon-Ra 592 concerns the right to counsel. In these cases, the courts ordered changes to the previous detention and deportation system and recognized the right to counsel by asylum applicants at ports of entry. As the Korean refugee status determination process is biased towards denying entry to unwelcome foreigners and biased against recognizing refugees, it is important to recognize the duty of the government to develop a better system at ports of entry in order to prevent the unjustified deportation of asylum seekers back to their country of origin.

Affiliations: 1: Advocates for Public Interest Law (APIL)SeoulSouth


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