Rahat John Austin, a Pakistani Christian who has been raising his voice against the persecution of minorities in the neighbouring Islamic country, is facing possibilities of deportation. He had to flee Pakistan with his family and now living in South Korea with his family as a refugee and South Korean resident. On April 18, Rahat posted on Twitter that he is on the edge of being handed over to the Islamic State of Pakistan. “It means I’m gonna be killed by Jihadists,” he added.
I am at the edge of being handed over to Islamic State of Pakistan. It means I’m gonna be killed by Jihadists. I am a recognized refugee & South Korean Resident. I hope Great Korea will show mercy & will not violate the rule of non-refoulement of Recognized Refugees. Need prayers— Rahat Austin (@johnaustin47) April 18, 2021
Rahat further urged the South Korean government to show mercy and not violate the rule of non-refoulment of Recognized Refugees. He said, “I hope Great Korea will show mercy & will not violate the rule of non-refoulment of Recognized Refugees.”
Rahat was attacked in January 2021
On January 5, Rahat alleged that he was stabbed by Jihadists. In a video message shared with OpIndia, Rahat Austin recounted, “Just moments ago, I was attacked by an Islamist jihadi. He had a knife and just by the way he said ‘Allahu Akbar’, I assume he is from a middle eastern country… Why do these people keep doing such things everywhere in the world? We are not doing anything wrong.”
Rahat Austin is one of the frontrunners to bring cases of persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan. He has exposed several cases on social media that would have otherwise gotten brushed under the carpet by the Pakistani regime.
Refugees in South Korea
Refugees in South Korea are classified into two main categories that are Korean and Non-Korean. The refugees coming from North Korea do not need to go through the process of seeking asylum, and they are granted citizenship automatically. The government also provides them support and services for easier assimilation. For non-Korean refugees, as a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, South Korea has an obligation to accept and protect them.
The country started accepting refugees in 1994. In 2013, it became the first Asian country to adopt its own refugee law. A 2020 study suggests that the South Koreans are against a more open refugee policy. The country faced internal backlash in 2018 when over 500 Yemini asylum seekers landed on Jeju Island. According to South Korean government data, out of 40,400 asylum seekers between 1994-2018, only 839 received it.