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South Korea greets Muslim refugees with protests



South Korea greets Muslim refugees with protests

Protests to migrants and refugees have been seen in the United States, Europe, and Australia as the number of people claiming to be displaced by war in Syria and other Middle East nations. Now South Korea is the latest to be added to the list with an organized anti-migrant movement.

Over 500 Yemeni refugees arrived in South Korea the first half of 2018, up tenfold from all of 2017. The result is many protests throughout South Korea and an online petition with over 700,000 signers requesting President Moon Jae-in do something to stop it.

South Koreans begin protesting as they don’t want Muslim refugees in their country who expected to be welcomed with open arms, were in for a rude awakening. The arrival of hundreds of Yemenis has fostered a wave of opposition giving birth to what is considered South Korea’s first organised anti-migrant movement.

“Let’s kick out fake refugees!” shouts heard during a 30 June rally on the island which is part of the anti-immigration sentiment overtaking the country.

There were protests in Jeju and elsewhere, including Seoul, during the summer.

My Take

This is one of the most challenging issues nations have to face in the modern world. On one hand, there must be compassion for those who are truly embattled and looking for safety in lands with greater opportunity. On the other hand, there are negative forces invariably mixed in with the deserving refugees who put their host nations and their people at risk.

What is a nation to do?

The first priority of every sovereign country must be the protection of their own people. Those nations with the means should work together to establish safe places for refugees even if it’s not necessarily in their own lands.

The Middle East has plenty of room for refugees, but a large effort must be made to establish accommodations and aid for those moved. Refugee camps are not enough, but opening borders is an equally bad idea. If the resources could be combined and channeled towards creating safe places of opportunity for the displaced, it’s better for the refugees as well as the nations who would potentially host them.


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