Korea has granted refugee status to only 223 foreigners in the 19 years since it signed the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees in December 1992, with Burmese asylum seekers topping the list.
According to a book published by the Seoul Administrative Court on Wednesday, 3,017 foreigners applied for asylum here between 1992 and February this year and 223 were successful.
Some 137 others were permitted to stay on humanitarian grounds until the human rights situation in their home countries improves. Some 568 withdrew their applications in court hearings and 1,581 were refused.
The reason for the small numbers is that Korea's membership in the convention is not well known overseas. But over the last three or four years, more refugees applied for asylum and more were accepted.
Burmese asylum seekers topped the list with 93, followed by 47 Bangladeshis, 17 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 15 Ethiopians, eight Iranians, and six Ugandans.