September 16, 2019
Username:
 In 2023-De-escalation of Sectarian Conflict

Topic:
Country: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Delegate Name: Ava Balint

Special Political
Republic of Korea
Ava Balint
Topic B: De-escalation of Sectarian Conflicts

Sectarianism is the strong connection with a party, especially a religious identity, race, or political party. In this strong attachment sectarian conflicts occur due to the party of interest feeling threatened. Sectarian conflicts occur in both interstate (multiple countries) and intrastate (in a single country). As far as intrastate conflicts the UN knows their role in de-escalating them, but not as much for intrastate conflicts. Currently there is a large sectarian conflict in the Middle East surrounding Muslims in Pakistan.
As South Korea has emerged as an important player in Asia’s economy and international affairs, South Korea’s standings are also reflected in its interactions with the Middle East. The Middle East has never been as important to Korea as it is today, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se described how his country’s relationship with the region had changed from one “of choice” to a relationship “of necessity”. In 2013, Korea became the first country in Asia to adopt a refugee law after they joined the Refugee Convention in December 1992. This was due to past sectarian conflicts. South Korea experienced the global refugee conflict in 2018 with around 500 Yemeni citizens using a visa-free entry system. On June 1, 2018, the government removed Yemen from its list of visa-free. South Korea did this due to the issue between “real refugees” vs “fake refugees”, and concerns over social integration of Yemen refugees.
Today, South Korea is a multicultural society, with some opposition from the Korean Society in accepting refugees from Yemen. As South Korea actively took the lead in Asia in accepting refugees, South Korea emphasizes countries also follow and do the same. With more and more refugees every year, the number of asylum seekers sharply increases, peaking at 16,173 in 2018 due to the refugee crisis. South Korea believes that accepting refugees into a new, safer, welcoming country, will be a first step towards de-escalating sectarian conflicts. With more countries opening their arms to refugees will also help ease the struggles that refugee-accepting countries are facing, for example South Korea’s economy struggles to employ the increasing number of refugees.

1. Alasrar, F. A., & Jalal, I. (2023, November 16). South Korea’s “yemeni refugee problem.” Middle East Institute. https://www.mei.edu/publications/south-koreas-yemeni-refugee-problem
2. South Korea. Migrants & Refugees Section. (2021, October 21). https://migrants-refugees.va/country-profile/south-korea/#:~:text=South%20Korea%20began%20accepting%20refugee,peaking%20at%2016%2C173%20in%202018.

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