‘Why I left Korea to become a refugee’

South East AsiaDecember 18, 2015 – Reported by the Korea Herald – With risks and challenges faced by refugees across the world having become one of the greatest global issues today, the status and conditions of asylum seekers in South Korea have also been highlighted. The Korea Herald will publish a series of articles shedding light on refugees in Korea, their hardships, the systematic fallout, the country’s own history and ways to go forward. The following is the sixth installment. -Ed. Three years ago, Lee Ye-da, then 23, arrived in Paris. He had only purchased a one-way ticket, having decided to live as a refugee overseas. Chose to leave everything he ever had He known – including his family -. As he was against the obligatory military duty in South Korea About 10 months after his arrival at Charles de Gaulle Airport, Lee was granted refugee status in France and was given a renewable visa that let him stay in the country for 10 years. Now 26, Lee is one of a handful of Korean conscientious objectors who are living as refugees overseas. In France he is actively involved in antiwar movements while working at a bagel shop part-time, claiming that refusing mandatory military service should be recognized as a right, instead of a crime, in his home country. South Korea, a US ally, is technically still at war with North Korea as the Korean War (1950-53) ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty. Accordingly, it currently offers no alternative to  military duty required for all “able-bodied” men…story continues below (translated)…

Source: ‘Why I left Korea to become a refugee’

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