23:36 GMT +315 November 2019
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    Anti-immigration activists attend a protest against a group of asylum-seekers from Yemen, in Seoul on June 30, 2018

    Genial Hosts: S Korean Protesters Up in Arms Against Yemeni Refugees

    © AFP 2019 / Ed JONES
    Asia & Pacific
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    The presence of refugees from Yemen on South Korean soil has fanned anti-immigrant sentiment among the local populace as people call for the asylum seekers’ eviction.

    The arrival of only about 550 refugees from Yemen to South Korea – as compared to, for example, hundreds of thousands of migrants flocking to Europe – polarized the South Korean society, with thousands of people demanding their expulsion.

    According to AFP, one of the top comments on the matter posted on the Naver web portal, and liked by thousands of users, was: "Is the government crazy? These are Muslims who will rape our daughters!"

    Last month, hundreds of protesters staged rallies in Seoul calling upon the government to "kick out fake refugees."

    The disgruntled citizens also started a petition on the presidential website, demanding that the country’s refugee laws be tightened and insisting that unlike Europe, South Korea has no moral obligations to any former colonies.

    A recent opinion poll cited by AFP also reveals that nearly half of South Korea’s population is against accepting asylum seekers from Yemen, with only 39 percent favoring the idea and 12 percent undecided.

    READ MORE: IOM Warns Offensive on Yemen’s Hodeidah Port Putting 600,000 at Risk

    The Yemeni refugees reportedly managed to enter the country via Jeju Island – a popular visa-free tourist destination in South Korea. This development reportedly prompted Seoul to shut down this option for other Yemenis.


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