Asan Plenum

Session: Session 2
Date/Time: April 24, 2019 / 10:45-12:15


Marie McAuliffe, International Organization for Migration

Mely Caballero-Anthony, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University
Gordon Flake, Perth USAsia Centre, University of Western Australia
Lee Jasmine, Korea Cultural Diversity Organization
Neil G. Ruiz, Pew Research Center
Jay Song, University of Melbourne


Panel Description
According to recent UN estimates, over 258 million people live outside their country of birth today. The sources of increasing human mobility range from armed conflicts and economic crises to climate change. To promote safe and orderly migration, the UN General Assembly is working on global compacts for migration and refugees. According to the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees, countries should admit refugees fleeing in fear of persecution. The scope of internationally protected refugees is, however, limited, and the host state has the final say on whether or not a person is a protected refugee. Further, some states are more reluctant to admit migrants, claiming it would strain their resources and undermine domestic security. By contrast, others welcome them as a valuable labor supply and a source of economic growth. In South Korea, the number of immigrants and foreign workers has steadily increased each year. In particular, the country faced a refugee crisis last year, with hundreds of Yemeni nationals seeking asylum on Jeju Island, sparking a fierce debate over the country’s refugee policy. What are the advantages and disadvantages of migration for migrants, host communities, and communities of origin? How should countries distinguish between refugees and economic migrants? Should host states be allowed stronger discretion in their migration policies? Is South Korea socially prepared to embrace multiculturalism?