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[Newsletter Vol.6] Sixty-five Million People on the Road 2018-05-28
작성자  |  제주포럼

Sixty-five Million People on the Road
UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador to Speak Up for Refugees

According to the latest Global Trend Report, as of late 2016, 65.6 million people were 
forcibly displaced in their plight to avoid conflict and persecution. This is the largest number 
of refugees ever, and it is increasing due to worsening disputes in Syria, Myanmar and South 

Korea cannot afford to remain a bystander in the refugee issue any longer. Since Korea 
started accepting refugees in 1994, 22,792 individuals have sought asylum in Korea. Among 
these refugee seekers, only 672 individuals, or 3 percent, have been accepted. That is less 
than one tenth of the global refugee recognition rate which stands at 38%. This is one of 
the reasons why the international community is expecting Korea to assume a greater role in 
assisting refugees.

At the upcoming Jeju Forum, the JoongAng Ilbo will be organizing a session entitled “The 
Global Refugee Crisis: What We Need to Know.” In this session, which runs from 5:10p.m. to 
6:10p.m. on June 26, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Goodwill 
Ambassador Mr. Jung Woo-sung, who has visited refugee camps in Nepal, South Sudan, 
Lebanon, Iraq and Bangladesh, will join a dialogue with JTBC Newsroom weekend anchor 
Mr. Kim Pil-Gyu to talk about the refugee crisis. UNHCR Korea appointed the renowned 
Korean actor as its first celebrity supporter in May 2014. Since then, Mr. Jung has brought 
the spotlight on the hardships refugees face as well as UNHCR activities to deal with their 
plight, drawing the Korean public’s attention to the issue with his appearances in various 
media. In June 2015, UNHCR Korea officially appointed him as a goodwill ambassador and 
since then, he has engaged in diverse UNHCR activities. 

In an interview, Mr. Jung said, “I feel I have done my work as a goodwill ambassador when I 
find change, no matter how slight, in the public perception of refugees.” He also 
emphasized that it was his role to let as many people know about refugees and their dire 
conditions. He added, “Korea received assistance from the international community after the 
Korean War. I hope I can raise the global profile of Korea by doing all I can for the refugees.”

He also commented on the acceptance of North Korean defectors, saying, “North Koreans 
who come to the South are not refugees. Upon their entry into the South, they become 
South Korean nationals. As stipulated in the Constitution, those from the North are our 
compatriots, which is very different from refugees who need immediate but temporary 
assistance. It is wrong to think it is enough just to accept them as refugees.” Mr. Jung will 
share more stories about refugees at the Jeju Forum session.