Organized Panel Session
Since the "European refugee crisis" of 2015, the EU has been struggling to deal with the increasing number of asylum seekers. The issue of refugees has become a heated topic in North America as well, with one of the latest developments being the Trump administration's announced plan to ban on asylum application from those who travel through a "safe third country." While refugee production, reception, and resettlement have been garnering attention from both scholars and policymakers, East Asia is often left out of the discussion. The panel fills this significant empirical lacuna in the field of refugee studies by bringing in four articles that focus on South Korea. South Korea is a particularly important case to study for its dynamic development in the past decade. In December 2011 South Korea passed the Refugee Act and became the first country in Asia to have an independent refugee legislation. In 2015, as Lee notes, South Korea started to implement a refugee resettlement program. However, as McClean and Sung discuss, the actual implementation of the Refugee Act in South Korea needs much improvement. Kim provides a historical account of South Korea's handling of Indochinese refugees, or the "boat people," in the 1980s and demonstrates how South Korea's refugee system has always been tied to the international refugee regime. By bringing in the South Korean case to the discussion on the international refugee regime, the panel will contribute to expanding the scholarship on refugee studies to be truly "international" in its perspectives.