Update to KKT25532.E of 20 December 1996 on the treatment of ethnic Koreans and available state protection [KKT34458.E]

Information on the treatment of ethnic Koreans is limited among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Kazakh Ambassador to Seoul, Korea, Tulegen T. Zhukeyev, stated in response to the election win of Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev, that "relations between Korea and Kazakhstan will be further strengthened in the economic, political, social, cultural and various other fields" and that the president had "very warm feelings for the Korean people living in Kazakhstan" (The Korea Post Feb. 1999). Zhukeyev further related that over 4,000 Koreans participated in a gathering in 1997, with the blessing of the president, at the State Hall to celebrate the 60th anniversary of their arrival in Kazakhstan (ibid.).

News from the Korean Central News Agency of the DPRK reported in July 1999 that a social federation called "Young People for Ecology and Culture," the Kazakh Association for the Study and Dissemination of the Juche Idea, and another social federation called EKHO jointly wrote a letter to the South Korea Embassy in Kazakhstan to protest the creation of an Association of South Koreans in Kazakhstan (27 July 1999). The authors of the letter accused the South Korean Embassy of manipulating reunification and peace efforts of North Korean President Kim Hong II (ibid.).

The following information was provided in correspondence by Natsuko Oka, research fellow at the Institute of Developing Economies (IDE) of Japan (15 May 2000). The IDE is a government-funded research institute focusing on economies and politics in most regions and countries of the world, except North America and Western Europe. Natsuko Oka, who currently resides in Kazakhstan, has been covering Central Asia, and particularly Kazakhstan, for the Institute since 1994.

Ethnic Koreans in Kazakhstan, as a collective, are not mistreated, harassed or threatened, although individual cases may exist. Based on conversations the research fellow has had with members of the Korean community, some of them feel that the government neglects them and do not listen to their concerns. He continued to state that the government spent more time dealing with the "ethnic Russian problem" and that the other ethnic groups in Kazakhstan, including the Koreans, were relegated to the category of "other" and received no special treatment. No corroborating information could be found among the sources consulted.

An article written by Natsuko Oka entitled "Organizing Kazakhstan's Korean Minority: The Association of Koreans in Kazakhstan," which was published in the September/October 1999 issue of Analysis of Current Events, is attached for additional information on the situation of Koreans in Kazakhstan.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


The Korea Post [Seoul]. February 1999. Vol. 12, No. 2. "Nazarbayev Win Heralds Closer Cooperation with Korea." http://www.koreapost.com/1999_02/dip&fo_03.htm [Accessed 15 May 2000]

Oka, Natsuko, Research Fellow, Institute of Developing Economies (IDE) of Japan, Almaty, Kazakhstan. 15 May 2000. Correspondence sent to the Research Directorate.

News from the Korean Central News Agency of the DPRK [Pyongyang]. 27 July 1999. "S. Korean Authorities' Hit for Separatist Moves." http://www.kcna.co.jp/item/1999/9907/news07/27.htm [Accessed 15 May 2000]


Analysis of Current Events [New York]. September/October 1999. Vol. 11, No. 7-8. Natsuko Oka. "Organizing Kazakhstan's Korean Minority: The Association of Koreans in Kazakhstan," pp.14-15.

Additional Sources Consulted

Amnesty International Country File: Kazakhstan. 1999-2000.

Country Reports for Human Rights Practices for 1999. 2000.

IRB Databases


World News Connection (WNC)

Internet sites including:

Amnesty International

Human Rights Watch

International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights

Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OCSE)