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996번 게시글
[Press Release Statement] We Condemn the Korean Government for Detaining Russian Refugees Who Oppose War at Its Border
Date : 2022-12-30     Hit : 983

[Press Release Statement] 

We Condemn the Korean Government for Detaining Russian Refugees Who Oppose War at Its Border

 

1. The war between Ukraine and Russia has been persisting. War coerces killing onto humankind. As the war continued on, unlike what Russia initially anticipated, Russia issued a mobilization order on September 21st, claiming that he would force 300,000 people into the battlefield. Ethnic minorities and vulnerable groups have been discriminately drafted into the warzone. While the Russian authorities recently stated that the mobilization order has been successfully completed, there are still reports of people continuously being drafted into the war; with no surprise, many are rejecting such a call and not responding to the draft. Some of them have left their homeland and are wandering across the world. In other words, they have become refugees on the basis of draft evasion.

 

2. These folks have refused to kill, and to partake in the war. War is merely an arena of international politics, and those who have refused to be a tool of murder have left the battlefield to become refugees. However, the Ministry of Justice in Korea has reductively dismissed them as “not being worthy of evaluation,” and has practically abandoned these refugees at the departure waiting room within the airport’s duty-free area. The refugees have suffered from inhumane words and actions from the staff; they have been blocked from access to medical care; they cannot even change clothes as they cannot find their luggages, and they are suffering pain amidst treatment that forsakes humane dignity. Rightful refugees who have opposed war and refused to be drafted are being detained at the Korean border, enduring time ripe with humiliation and inhuman treatment.

 

3. Korea is not too distant from the cruelty of war. Cases of Russian refugees who escaped from the forced draft to the East Sea on boat have been known, and subsequently, there has been a media report on Russian draft evasion refugees whose chances at refugee status determination has been rejected, and hence surviving on bread, juice, and flight meal at the airport for months. The health of those who have filed a case in search of help from the Korean court has significantly deteriorated, while the Korean government appears to silently wish for them to voluntarily go back without saying a word. However, if they do go back to Russia, it is highly likely for them to be detained or forcibly drafted, and some of those who had participated in anti-government protests in Russia are at risk of facing violence from the state.

 

4. These people, as they have refused to partake in war, are political refugees who face persecution. Those who apply for refugee upon escaping political and religious persecution from their home countries have rights to protection under international law, and depriving them of claims to refugee status determination is refusing them at the border which the Refugee Convention forbids. Pushing people back by detaining them at the airport and pushing refugees back at the Mediterranean sea and the U.S-Mexico border are all equally unlawful acts. While it prides itself as the first country in Asia to legislate an independent Refugee Act, and as a developed, democratic state that guarantees human rights, Korea has been inconspicuously rejecting refugees who have objected to war.

 

5. Not only that, the Korean government is one that acknowledges the right to conscientious objection to military service. Surely, the subject of law that recognizes conscientious objection is its own national. Nonetheless, conscientious objection was introduced as an universal human right at the global stage because of first, protection of freedom of conscience as an individual’s right, and second, a widespread understanding that resisting unjust use of force is a shared responsibility among the global citizens. The reason these people became refugees is because they have exercised their responsibility as global citizens to stand against crimes of war that humanity has repeatedly committed.

 

6. The conscientious objectors of Russia are suffering from discrimination, imprisonment, and violence due to their refusal of military service. The Russian draft objectors currently at the airport are those who fled from such persecution. No one ought to be a subject of persecution for exercising their freedom of conscience. The Korean government must immediately cease the inhumane treatment of the Russian refugees, publish the concealed cases of repatriation, arrange for these refugees opportunities of refugee status determination upon granting them swift entry into the border, and provide a safe shelter for those at serious risk of persecution by recognizing their refugee statuses.

 

7. As such, we, the signatories, are filing a claim to the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, and request the following.

First, the Minister of Justice shall rescind the unlawful standard of determination that stigmatizes the Russian refugees who fled upon opposing war since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which thereby sanctifies military service, and at the same time convicts the political right to oppose Russia’s invasion.

Second, the Minister of Justice shall immediately cease refusal at the border which seeks to suppress the Russian refugee applicants, and immediately publish the previous cases of direct and indirect repatriation.

Third, the Minister of Justice shall rescind the decision of non-referral on the refugees currently detained, and immediately grant medical care and treatment according to the Refugee Act.

Fourth, the Minister of Justice, in relation to the inhumane treatment at the departure waiting room, shall institutionalize access to personal items, access to medical care, as well as bringing in items such as food and clothes, and cease operations of waiting rooms in regional airports such as Incheon International Airport Terminal 2 and Jeju International Airport as detention facilities.

Fifth, the Minister of Justice shall immediately put an end to the abusive speech and behavior of the departure waiting room staff as well as relevant regional Immigration authorities, and implement human rights education on the rights of refugees.

Sixth, the Congress, in order to prevent recurrence of such abuse of power, shall establish a special provision that can enact swift hearing and determination pursuant to the Habeas Corpus Act in regards to the case evaluations of refugees at the airport.

 

2022.12.30.

 

The Korean Civil Society Network in Advocacy of Peace and Human Rights of the Russian Draft Evasion Refugees

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