SEOUL, Oct. 6 (Korea Bizwire) — The Supreme Court has finalized a decision to grant refugee status to a Pakistani family who fled their home country in fear of so-called honor crimes, officials said Thursday.
Upholding a lower court’s ruling, the top court sided with the Pakistanis’ request for asylum here after they received threats of honor killings from family members for entering into a marriage they had disapproved of.
The ruling is the first to recognize refugee status for potential victims of honor killing after many cases in which fear of revenge was not considered as an element of risk.
The Pakistani man, whose identity has been withheld, had planned a marriage with a young Pakistan woman of a higher social class in 2016.
Her family disapproved of the couple’s plan and threatened so-called honor killings for violating conservative norms governing women’s relationships.
The family has since fled to South Korea.
Immigration officials, however, rejected the family’s application for refugee status, citing that the man previously looked for jobs here. They filed a suit to have the decision repealed.
A lower court initially sided with the immigration office, but an appellate court overturned the decision, saying a forced marriage harms the most elementary human rights and the applicants would be in clear danger if sent back home.