Kenyan widow granted refugee status

October 30, 2010 12:00 am

, SEOUL, Oct 30 – A South Korean court ordered the government Friday to grant refugee status to a Kenyan widow who said she was in danger of being "inherited" by her late husband\’s brother.

The 42-year-old from the Luo tribe, whose name was withheld, filed suit against the justice ministry for refusing to grant her refugee status.

She said she fled to South Korea in 2006 to avoid continual harassment and threats from her late husband\’s relatives, who sought to force her to be "inherited" by another man.

"After her husband\’s funeral, his brothers attempted to force her to have sex with another man and remarry under the custom," the Seoul Administrative Court said in a statement.

When she refused to submit, it said, the brothers denied her access to her late husband\’s property. They set fire to her house, putting the lives of her and her children at risk.

"It constitutes a breach of human dignity, and the right to choose one\’s own sexual life, to force anyone to have sex with another man or marry him," the court said.

"Considering that (Kenyan) police failed to act on her plea for help, it is highly likely for her to face the same persecution if she is repatriated."



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