This article illustrates how South Korea is gradually transforming its policies and practices directed toward a growing population of refugees, humanitarian status holders and asylum seekers. Given many deeply rooted dynamics at the intersection of law and society, South Korea has experienced a difficult trajectory, with a high rejection rate, minimal social welfare provisions and elements of discrimination that have caused alienation and distrust among asylum seekers and refugees regarding their host country. However, rising pressure from civil society has prompted legal and administrative reforms set to place the country on a different path more closely aligned with international human rights norms. The government is also beginning to shift its approach away from an overwhelming emphasis on securitization by working out the challenges of helping the country's refugees chart their respective courses toward membership and participation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported in part by a grant from the BK-21 program in the Department of Political Science and International Studies, Yonsei University. The authors wish to thank the numerous individuals who shared their experiences and insights during interviews; two anonymous reviewers of the manuscript; and colleagues and participants on the panel, ‘Regulating Immigrant Rights: Comparative Perspectives,’ at the 2012 annual meeting of the Law & Society Association.
© The Authors 2013.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Political Science and International Relations