Canada has granted refugee status to a mentally ill South Korean woman and her daughter on grounds the treatment of psychiatric patients in their homeland is so inadequate, it amounts to persecution.
Mi Sook Oh, 42, initially sought refugee status in Canada by claiming she had been persecuted in her native South Korea by a church representative who had “poisoned everyone against her,” and she had been arrested and held three times against her will.
. . .
The Immigration and Refugee Board determined she was, in fact, persecuted — not by a church representative, but by a South Korean health-care system that mistreats mentally ill patients.
Oh suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and had been forced into mental institutions three times in South Korea without treatment or medication, the refugee board concluded.
Based on that mistreatment, the board granted Oh refugee status in October.
From an immigration and policy analyst and lawyer, Richard Kurland:
This decision means Koreans with mental illnesses can become refugees while other potential immigrants with mental illnesses who are seeking residency under categories such as that for skilled workers, could be denied entry if immigration officials determine the mental illness could be too expensive for the health care system or social services, Kurland said.
And from the consul at the South Korean embassy in Vancouver:
"I think the mental ill people are well taken care of in my country - better than in Canada," he said. "So I cannot believe her story."
* Update: Turns out she has been keeping a blog.