The local head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR) has welcomed the South Korean government’s recent decision to allow special visa extensions for Myanmar citizens residing in the country.
In a special lecture in Seoul on Thursday, James Lynch, head of the UNHCR's Seoul Office, referred to the Justice Ministry’s announcement last month to allow some 25-thousand Myanmar people to extend their stay on humanitarian grounds as junta forces and pro-democracy protesters continue to clash in the Southeast Asian country.
Lynch said South Korea is a leader among nations around the world actively helping refugees not only through government policies but also with civilian efforts involving the public as well as businesses, and noted Seoul has never turned away refugees even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to UNHCR, South Korean citizens donated over 47 million U.S. dollars for refugees in 2019. Last year, the South Korean government also pledged 10 million dollars worth humanitarian aid for Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.