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Some Korean men consider refugee status to avoid military service

Some South Korean men are considering seeking refugee status to avoid military service, a local media outlet reported Monday. 

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

Lee Yong-seok, an official at the civic group “A World Without War,” revealed to a local media outlet that a significant number of people consider applying for refugee status in order to avoid the country’s mandatory military service. “About 20 people visit us to consult the matter each year,” Lee said. 

According to the UN Refugee Agency’s annual “Global Trends” report, 526 Korean nationals applied for refugee status in 2016. Exact reasons for refugee status application remain unknown.

In Korea, the issue of conscientious objectors has been touchy for many years. The Constitution requires military service or alternative service from all able-bodied men. Those who refuse to go to the military can be tried and jailed.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)
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