A Pakistani man who fled his country for fear of being persecuted because of his sexual orientation should be granted refugee status here, Yonhap News reported Sunday.
A Seoul court said Sunday that it has ruled in favor of the Pakistani complainant, who is gay, and sought to overturn an earlier government decision not to recognize his refugee status here.
The individual had petitioned the government for refugee status in February of last year. The Justice Ministry rejected his application four months later, however, saying his petition did not meet the criteria of a "well-founded fear of being persecuted" as stipulated by the U.N. convention on refugees.
The Seoul Administrative Court reversed the ministry's decision, saying that should he be repatriated "there is a high likelihood that the plaintiff will be subject to persecution by the Pakistani government and Muslim society simply because he is gay."
"My life, as a homosexual, was in danger in my country," the plaintiff told Yonhap News Agency on condition of anonymity due to sensitivity of the issue. "My family and relatives were my enemy. They said I was insulting my family, Islam and my country and threatened that they would report me to police," he said.
South Korea signed onto the U.N. Convention and Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees in 1992. Since then, 2,413 foreigners have applied for refugee status and 145 were granted asylum. The first approval was in 2001 for an Ethiopian male.