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» 10/19/2009
SOUTH KOREA
Seoul: human rights activists protest expulsion of migrant workers
by Theresa Kim Hwa-young
The government has hardened policy in order to identify and expel workers without the right residency papers. In six months, 17,000 migrants lost their job and were deported.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – “Free Minu! Stop Crackdown!” shouted members of a coalition of 23 groups, including the Migrant Workers Trade Union in front of the Hwaseong Immigration Detention Centre in Gyeonggi Province last Friday. They were demanding the release of Minod Moktan (AKA Minu), a 33-year-old Nepali musician and cultural activist who, like other migrant workers, is undocumented and has been the target for a government expulsion order.

Some labour analysts and human rights observers are saying that the government must re-evaluate its positions on issues facing undocumented migrant workers, as they have integrated into Korean society.

In Minu’s case, he immigrated to South Korea in 1992 and went to work in restaurants and garment factories in the Uijeongbu area.

During this time, he campaigned actively on social issues, produced a documentary on migrant worker human rights and served as head of the executive committee for the Migrant Worker Film Festival. He has also been the recipient of a number of awards, but now he could be deported.

Prior to this recent target crackdown, the Korea Immigration Service had arrested and deported undocumented migrant workers , in 2007 and 2008, who had served as leaders of the Migrants Trade Union, a union founded for and by migrants.

Minu, who is engaged in human rights activism, became a target after a recent election of documented migrant workers to positions of leadership.

Target crackdowns are the consequence of President Lee Myung-bak’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy.

Last March he said, “illegal residents should not be allowed to just strut around”, a view widely condemned by human rights and labour organisations around the world.

Critics also note that the situation of migrant workers in South Korea has induced the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders to speak out on the issue.

The number of migrant workers deported has gone from around 20,000 a year during the Roh Moo-hyun administration to 32,000 last year under the Lee administration.

As of late July 2009, some 17,000 have lost their jobs and have been deported.

In addition, reports of serious human rights violations during the Justice Ministry’s crackdowns are surfacing; they include a steady number of cases of undocumented migrant workers suffering from injuries, dying, and committing suicide whilst in custody.


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See also
02/28/2005 SOUTH KOREA - NORTH KOREA
South Korea sends food aid to the North despite protests by South Korean activists
11/17/2006 SOUTH KOREA – NORTH KOREA – UNITED NATIONS
Seoul to vote for UN resolution on human rights violations in North Korea
08/18/2005 NORTH KOREA – SOUTH KOREA
Archbishop of Seoul appeals for religious freedom in North Korea
by Thomas Hongsoon Han
03/21/2006 SOUTH KOREA – NORTH KOREA
Separated families meet amid rising tensions
by Theresa Kim Hwa-young
03/25/2013 HONG KONG
“Racist” Hong Kong denies permanent residency to domestic workers

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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