Does North Korea accept asylum seekers?

  • Is it possible for a UK citizen seek asylum in Democratic People's Republic of Korea ? They seem to have an embassy in London but I have not managed to find their web-site and any relevant information about the process.

    I don't want to sound offensive. Though, you seem to be the only person looking for asylum IN North Korea. :p

    My risk team(that includes people from Hungary and Romania) thinks it is a good idea.

  • Relaxed

    Relaxed Correct answer

    4 years ago

    Generally speaking you can always seek asylum, the question is what happens to you afterwards. For what it's worth, North Korea is not a party to the main UN Convention about refugees. So it's not clear whether it recognises the concept at all and it is under no obligation to provide protection to anybody. And even under a generous interpretation of the convention, mounting a credible claim as a British citizen sounds like a challenge anyway.

    Furthermore, you cannot usually effectively seek asylum in embassies, that's just not the way it works. What the relevant international law is about are displaced people who present themselves to an international border or cross it irregularly, their rights and what can be done after that. You will find a handful of recorded cases of people finding refuge in an embassy and perhaps a few hundreds or thousands of people being granted some sort of visa to travel to another country on the same basis but those are fringe cases and no country is under any obligation to provide protection to people through their embassy.

    In fact, even countries that have a generous attitude towards applications lodged on their territory, participate in UNHCR relocation programmes, etc. do not routinely entertain applications lodged in embassies (and I am talking here about legitimate applications from genuine refugees).

    +1, I am glad that a really useful, informative answer was possible here, discounting all the "who would want to go to NK" glee. It is obvious to me that the OP is not actually trying to get asylum there, but is interested in the actual workings of the "asylum" concept. Which has been pretty deftly explained here. For example, I was *not* intuitively aware that you usually cannot get asylum in embassies, but in hindsight it is obvious - or else, any and all asylums close to problematic countries would regularly be flooded by hordes of refugees.

    *"even countries that have a generous attitude towards applications lodged on their territory, [...] do not routinely entertain applications lodged in embassies"* As a somewhat recent, publicly reported example of this, look at the problems Edward Snowden had in seeking asylum in different countries, where many basically outright responded "get to our territory and we'll look at it".

    "[M]ounting a credible claim as a British citizen sounds like a challenge anyway." Not necessarily. It would be hard for a British person to claim asylum in, say, the US or France because those countries believe the UK to be a reasonable place whose government represses its people. But North Korea seems not to think that the UK is a reasonable place; I don't know if they think we're being oppressed.

    @DavidRicherby Sure you meant that the way you said it? I mean, it could be you have an interesting view on US-UK relations.... "the US or France because those countries believe the UK to be a reasonable place *whose government represses its people*"

    @Darkwing \*laughs\* Er, yeah, I meant "doesn't repress", though it's more fun to pretend that I meant "represses in a way that the US agrees with."

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM