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Refugee Status for North Korean Dual Nationals: A Study of Recent Cases from New Zealand

Wolman, A. ORCID: 0000-0003-2820-3566 (2022). Refugee Status for North Korean Dual Nationals: A Study of Recent Cases from New Zealand. Korean Journal of International and Comparative Law, 10(1), pp. 66-80. doi: 10.1163/22134484-12340165


In recent years, asylum tribunals in the West have normally concluded that North Korean asylum seekers are also South Korean nationals, and therefore must show a well-founded fear of persecution in both North and South Korea in order to be considered refugees. This has predictably presented a challenge for North Koreans seeking asylum in the West. In most cases, it has led to denials of protection. There are, however, some exceptions. In a pair of recent cases, North Korean asylum seekers have been granted refugee status and asylum in New Zealand, despite their acknowledged South Korean nationality and prior settlement in the South. After a review of the general challenges faced by North Korean asylum seekers, this article examines each case in detail, drawing out the reasoning underlying the Tribunals’ decisions and exploring the implication for future applicants.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in Korean Journal of International and Comparative Law by Brill Academic Publisher.
Subjects: J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
J Political Science > JX International law
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of final NK asylum seekers in NZ.pdf]
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