South Korean client’s appeal allowed on Human Rights grounds

Yet another successful appeal from our team. Now assisting a South Korean client whose appeal was allowed under the Human Rights grounds.

His immigration history does not have any remarks until 2010 when his further leave to remain application as a student was refused. After the successful appeal, he was granted only 3 months leave to allow him to extend the same in May 2012. Unfortunately, his family did not support his choice of education and profession. They disapproved of his choice of life as well. He was cut off from all financial and emotional support. Subsequently, he overstayed his leave in the UK.

After being encountered by the Immigration Officers, he makes a human rights and asylum claim. All submissions were made independently by our client at the initial stage of the proceedings.

The basis of the asylum claim rests on our client’s believes on and expectations from the compulsory military service in the Republic of South Korea. He claimed to be a conscientious objector and should be recognised as a refugee because his claim falls under the Geneva Convention on the Rights of Refugees 1951.

The Republic of Korea is well known for its compulsory military service and its open demonstration of imposing criminal charges on anyone who dodged the draft. It has recently been accepted that the Republic of Korea has the longest term for military service and no alternative service is available to the draftees. The only alternative to date is at least 18 months imprisonment.

Our client also claimed that even though the prison conditions in South Korea do not breach the international standards, his freedom of choice, family, social, professional and private life will be affected by the prison sentence. He claimed that he will not be able to travel, obtain a lucrative job nor financial support that would enable him to maintain himself post-conviction. This will also disrupt his relationship with his current partner whom he lived with for over 7 years in the UK.

Unfortunately, the Home Office failed to consider every aspect of our client’s case and certified the claim as clearly unfounded under s94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. This is when he instructed us in his matter.

It took our team to fight long and hard to get the right to appeal the decision of the Home Office. Nozima relied on the following in the grounds for appeal:

1) Conscientious objection to service in the military is a Convention Reason to recognise someone as a refugee. It was argued that our client is a member of a particular social group whose rights are being violated. Accordingly, he should be recognised as a refugee.
2) Where our client is not recognised to be a refugee, his removal from the UK will violate his right to family and private life. It was argued that the cohabitation with the partner for over 7 years does amount to the relationship being akin to a marriage. The fact that our client would be imprisoned upon arrival to South Korea, spends at least 2 years in serving his sentence and be deprived of equal treatment was submitted to be an insurmountable obstacle.

The background information fully supports the submissions made on our client’s behalf. After imprisonment in South Korea, our client will face
significant obstacles to reintegration in South Korean society, such as job placement, opening and running a business, getting a bank loan or travelling abroad.

The Immigration Judge, considering all factors present and arguments raised during the appeal allowed it on Human Rights grounds. The Judge based her decision on disproportionality of removal of our client from the UK considering his integration in society by living in the UK for about 18 years, his 9 years relationship with the settled partner and harsh consequences of port-conviction in South Korea that would interfere with his Article 8 ECHR rights.


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