About APIL Advocates for Public Interest Law (APIL) is a non-governmental, non-profit public interest lawyers’ organization that was established in 2011. APIL seeks to defend the human rights of refugees, victims of human trafficking, stateless persons, migrants who have been detained for prolonged periods and victims of human rights violations committed by Korean corporations abroad. APIL does this through litigation, legislative advocacy, awareness raising, legal education, and cooperation domestically and internationally with other human rights organizations.

APIL’s Work Refugees: Since 1994 over 25,000 refugee applicants have requested the protection of the Korean Government. However, as of late 2017 only about 700 had been recognized as refugees. Although Korea has ratified the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the rights of refugees and refugee applicants as set out in the Convention are not guaranteed. APIL assists at both the refugee application stage and with litigation, and also conducts research and legislative advocacy for the improvement of laws and institutions related to the protection of refugees. Through the Refugee Film Festival and various lectures, APIL informs citizens of the importance of refugee protection and seeks to resolve issues in relation to refugees through solidarity networks such as the Refugee Support Network and Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN). Human trafficking victims: APIL acts on behalf of such persons as Filipina women deceived by brokers and forced into sex work despite having come to Korea to perform in entertainment clubs, and migrant fishers abused and exploited on Korean fishing vessels despite having paid high recruitment fees. APIL investigates violations against the human rights of human trafficking victims and strives to address these issues in various ways. APIL also provides litigation support and is making efforts to improve laws so that victims receive timely protection and so that offenders are appropriately punished.  Detained migrants: Migrants detained for immigration related matters are detained in immigration detention facilities called “foreigner protection” centers. Such detention can be regarded as arbitrary detention, not only because the conditions in these facilities are equivalent to those of a prison, but also because there is no limit to the length of the detention and no right to judicial review of the legality and necessity of the detention. APIL provides legal assistance so that unjustly detained migrants can be released and is also taking action to have laws amended so that migrants cannot be arbitrarily detained.  Stateless Persons: Most children of refugee applicants or undocumented migrants are not eligible for alien registration and children born to foreign nationals are not able to have their birth registered in Korea. Such children thus live in Korea as stateless persons. Although Korea acceded to the Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons in 1963, as of 2017 a procedure for identifying stateless persons has not been established and there is no system for protecting stateless persons. APIL supports such stateless persons and is working to have related systems improved. Business and Human Rights: Forced labor in cotton farms in Uzbekistan, human rights violations in palm oil farms in Indonesia, and human rights violations in electronics factories in Vietnam and Mexico have been linked to Korean companies. APIL investigates such human rights violations by Korean companies operating overseas and seeks remedies using both domestic and international mechanisms. APIL also strives to improve related laws and systems through Korean Transnational Corporation Watch (KNTC Watch).

Direction to APIL


# 505, Girl Scout Building. Subway Line 3, Anguk Station, Exit 1.