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COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION EXAMINES THE REPORT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA

4 December 2018

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today concluded its consideration of the combined seventeenth to nineteenth periodic report of the Republic of Korea on its implementation of the provisions of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Introducing the report, Kang Jeong-Sik, Deputy Minister for Multilateral and Global Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, noted that the Government was continuing its efforts to introduce a comprehensive anti-discrimination act, and would continue to research, review and gather public opinion in that regard. While it had not yet come up with stand-alone legislation on racial discrimination, hate speech was punished as defamation or insult in line with the Criminal Act and other laws. The Government would also carefully review whether fake news and biased media coverage constituted defamation or insult, and whether they were subject to criminal punishment in full consideration of the racist motive in sentencing. The State had expanded the number of organizations operating social integration programmes, and had carried out online education through video e-learning platforms. In June 2013, the authorities had established a bureau on refugees with increased personnel and had enacted the Guidelines for the Treatment of Refugees. Since October 2011, migrant workers with certain qualifications, including skilled workers and foreign workers, had been allowed to work in the country for extended periods and to invite their families. Migrant workers could change their workplace without restriction if they were mistreated by the employer or were unable to work due to the employer’s violation of the labour relations-related laws.

Jeong Moonja, Standing Commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission of the Republic of Korea, informed that as of December 2017, some 2.18 million foreigners resided in the Republic of Korea (4.1 per cent of the overall population). Accordingly, the Government had revised the rules and regulations and it had built a public infrastructure to support and acculturate migrants. However, there was a lot to improve in that respect. It was highly critical that the Government remained alert and cautiously tracked how racial discrimination progressed, and that it educated the public that xenophobia and racism were intolerable crimes. The Government should revise its immigration policies with respect to occupational accidents of migrant workers, maternity protection for foreign mothers giving birth in the Republic of Korea, sexual harassment at the workplace, the right to education for migrant children, and healthcare and social welfare benefits for children of migrant parents born in the country.

In the ensuing discussion, the Committee Experts urged the State party to include in its legislation a comprehensive and consolidated law that encompassed all prohibited grounds for discrimination listed in article 1 of the Convention, as well as a full description of both direct and indirect forms of discrimination and all elements of article 4 of the Convention on hate speech, incitement to hatred, and racist organizations. Referring to Yemeni asylum seekers who had arrived on Jeju island in May 2018, the Experts warned that anti-refugee sentiment could spread quickly and if mishandled, could turn into racist hysteria. In that respect, the Experts underlined the importance of measures to counter and prevent xenophobic discourse against foreigners by political and public foreigners. Likewise, they reminded that the Multicultural Families Support Act stigmatized and excluded from support certain unions based on ethnocentric notions rather than extending programmes of support to all migrants. The Experts further inquired about compliance of the Criminal Code with article 4 of the Convention to criminalize hate speech, and about setting up a mechanism to collect and analyse statistics on complaints of racial discrimination brought to domestic courts. The Experts also highlighted the lack of safeguards for the rights of “marriage migrants,” restricted access to Korean nationality, lack of protection of migrant children from detention and deportation, exploitation and ill-treatment of migrant workers in agriculture and fisheries, the precarious condition of female migrant workers and their exposure to sexual abuse at the workplace, the prolonged detention and violent crackdown on undocumented migrants, stateless persons, birth registration of non-citizen children, and the incompatibility of anti-trafficking regulations with the Palermo Protocol.

In her concluding remarks, Gay McDougall, Committee Member and Country Rapporteur for the Republic of Korea, said that the State party had not made much progress since the previous dialogue with the Committee. The Republic of Korea might be facing a national crisis in the future because those who performed labour in the country were not allowed to enjoy the prosperity of the country. They were sent back to their poor countries.

On his part, Mr. Kang thanked the Committee Experts for their constructive comments, and stressed that all of their comments would be given full consideration by the Government. The delegation understood that there was much room for progress and improvement.

Noureddine Amir, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation and wished them a safe trip back home.

The delegation of the Republic of Korea consisted of representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Employment and Labour, and the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The Committee will next meet in public today at 3 p.m. to consider the combined ninth to twelfth periodic report of Albania (CERD/C/ALB/9-12).

Report

The Committee has before it the combined seventeenth to nineteenth periodic report of the Republic of Korea: CERD/C/KOR/17-19.

Presentation of the Report

KANG JEONG-SIK, Deputy Minister for Multilateral and Global Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, informed that the Government had adopted the Third National Action Plan for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights 2018-2022, and it had announced its Third Multicultural Family Basic Plan 2018-2022, as well as the Third Basic Plan for Immigration Policy 2018-2022. The Government was continuing its efforts to introduce a comprehensive anti-discrimination act, which included racial discrimination issues, and it would continue to research, review and gather public opinion in that regard. While it was still to come up with stand-alone legislation on racial discrimination, hate speech was punished as defamation or insult in line with the Criminal Act and other laws. The Government would also carefully review whether fake news and biased media coverage constituted defamation or insult, and whether they were subject to criminal punishment in full consideration of the racist motive in sentencing.

Turning to the accomplishments of the Second National Action Plan for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, Mr. Kang noted that the State had expanded the number of organizations operating social integration programmes, and had carried out online education through video e-learning platforms. The Government had revised the Act on the Protection and Promotion of Cultural Diversity and its Enforcement Decree, which was the legal basis of the national policies supporting immigrants’ culture and communities. In June 2013, the authorities had established a bureau on refugees with increased personnel and they had enacted the Guidelines for the Treatment of Refugees. Through the guidelines, the Government operated the Immigration and Foreigners’ Support Centre and had provided refugee applicants with medical care, living costs and housing support. The authorities provided foreigners, married immigrant women and children of refugees with medical expenses support, as well as multi-language counselling and rehabilitation for the victims of sex trafficking.

The Third National Action Plan for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights aimed, among other things, to ensure the human rights of persons who violated the Immigration Law, ensure a stable legal status for married immigrant women, strengthen the social integration of immigrants, supervise and improve the working conditions for migrant workers, strengthen the monitoring of racial discrimination and hate speech in the media, and to prevent human rights abuses committed by overseas Korean companies. The Government operated the Employment Permit System following the principle of preventing permanent residency. Non-citizens qualified for non-professional employment could enter the country for work and then return home after the employment period ended. Since October 2011, migrant workers with certain qualifications, including skilled workers and foreign workers, had been allowed to work in the country for extended periods and to invite their families. Migrant workers could change their workplace without restriction if they were mistreated by the employer or were unable to work due to the employer’s violation of the labour relations-related laws.

Turning to asylum seekers and refugees, Mr. Kang reminded that the Refugee Act of 2013 stipulated refugee status determination, the right to legal assistance and interpretation services, as well as the right to appeal. Once legally recognized, refugees could receive social security and basic living benefits. They could also learn the Korean language and culture, and they could receive vocational training through the social integration programmes. The Government granted work permits to refugee applicants and recognized refugees and humanitarian stay permit holders so that they could be financially independent through work and contribute to the society. The Refugee Committee ensured the fairness and objectivity of the refugee determination procedure.

On birth registration, Mr. Kang informed that when children of non-citizens were born in the Republic of Korea, their parents could register their birth at the embassy of their country of origin. When that was not possible, the Government provided those children with a birth certificate and it registered them as foreigners, allowing them to stay in the country. The Government was planning to study and review issues surrounding the birth registration system and to collect opinions from the public. The Government had granted humanitarian stay permits to many Yemeni asylum seekers on Jeju island in the first half of 2018, and it planned to establish a mentoring system to help them adapt to the Korean society.

The Prosecutor’s Office had set out special rules in the Guidelines to Protect Foreign Victims of Domestic Violence, and it was devoted to protecting their rights through guaranteeing the right to request interpreters in the investigation process, the right for an appearance of persons in a relationship of trust, and legal aid. In April 2013, the Government had revised the Criminal Act to criminalize trafficking in persons. All types of trafficking were subject to criminal punishment, whereas aggravating factors included trafficking for indecent acts, adultery, marriage or commercial sale, labour exploitation, prostitution and sexual exploitation, organ harvesting, or transporting a person abroad. Moving on to international marriages, Mr. Kang explained that as their numbers had soared since the early 2000s, the Government had enacted the Multicultural Families Support Act in 2008, and it was developing family policies to form inclusive family concepts and overcome social prejudices.

Finally, briefing the Committee about the National Human Rights Commission, Mr. Kang informed that the revised National Human Rights Commission Act of 2016 aimed to strengthen the transparency and diversity of the selection of commissioners. The revised law stipulated the eligibility criteria for commissioners, and it widened the scope of candidates to include civil society groups. The Government’s new five-year plan announced in July 2017 foresaw an increase in the budget for the National Human Rights Commission.

JEONG MOONJA, Standing Commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission of the Republic of Korea, informed that as of December 2017, some 2.18 million foreigners resided in the Republic of Korea (4.1 per cent of the overall population). Accordingly, the Government had revised the rules and regulations and it had built a public infrastructure to support and acculturate migrants. However, there was a lot to improve in that respect. First, the Framework Act on Treatment of Foreigners Residing in the Republic of Korea used the term “illegal immigrants” for those who were undocumented or overstayed a visa. The term incurred negative perceptions of migrants and rendered them vulnerable to human rights violations. That term should be revised in line with international standards. Second, the arrival of more than 500 Yemenis on Jeju island in April and May 2018 had led to an anti-immigrant backlash that had quickly spread throughout the country due to misleading news reports. The Commission urged the Government to demonstrate a fair stance and to establish measures that conformed to international human rights standards and to the Refugee Act.

Ms. Moonja stressed that it was highly critical to remain alert, to cautiously track how racial discrimination progressed, and to educate the public that xenophobia and racism were intolerable crimes. The Government should take on more active legislative efforts to enact a comprehensive anti-discrimination act in the near future. Third, about 80 people had died or been injured due to the crackdowns on migrants in the period between 2008 and 2017. In response, the Commission had launched an ex officio investigation. Fourth, the Government should revise its immigration policies with respect to occupational accidents of migrant workers, maternity protection for foreign mothers giving birth in the Republic of Korea, sexual harassment at the workplace, the right to education for migrant children, and healthcare and social welfare benefits for children of migrant parents born in the country. Finally, the authorities should also conduct regular and broad investigations into trafficking of persons for the purpose of prostitution.

Questions by the Country Rapporteur

GAY MCDOUGALL, Committee Member and Country Rapporteur for the Republic of Korea, regretted that the State party’s consultation with civil society in the preparation of the periodic report had not included the representatives of non-governmental organizations who had come to present their reports to the Committee.

Turning to the degree to which the Convention obligations were reflected in domestic law and in the institutional and policy frameworks, Ms. McDougall urged the State party to include in its legislation a comprehensive and consolidated law that encompassed all prohibited grounds for discrimination listed in article 1 of the Convention, as well as a full description of both direct and indirect forms of discrimination and all elements of article 4 of the Convention on hate speech, incitement to hatred, and racist organizations. Unfortunately, such legislation had not been adopted by the Republic of Korea.

How did the Criminal Code comply with article 4 of the Convention to criminalize hate speech? What sanctions had the State party adopted to punish acts of racial discrimination and to declare illegal organizations that promoted racial discrimination? What measures had the State party taken to set up a mechanism to collect and analyse statistics on complaints of racial discrimination brought to domestic courts? What was the number of investigations carried out, convictions, sanctions and reparation provided to victims?

Moving on to Yemeni asylum seekers on Jeju island, the Country Rapporteur warned that anti-refugee sentiment could spread quickly and if mishandled, it could turn into racist hysteria. The events of May 2018 had demonstrated the importance of having an appropriate legal and policy framework in place to quash the spread of racist propaganda and for the Government to be prepared to play a leadership role in defending policies of multiculturalism and to curb xenophobic public debate.

Of further importance were measures to counter and prevent xenophobic discourse against foreigners by political and public figures, Ms. McDougall stressed. What sanctions had been imposed under article 100 of the Broadcast Law? What actions had been taken against conservative Christian groups that had actively and publicly instigated racist sentiments against people of the Muslim faith? What steps had been taken by the Government to remove terms, such as “illegal migrants,” which was used in the Framework Act on Treatment of Foreigners Residing in the Republic of Korea, to a more neutral term such as “undocumented immigrants”?

The Multicultural Families Support Act stigmatized and excluded from support certain unions based on ethnocentric notions rather than extending programmes of support to all migrants, Ms. McDougall underlined. The Act was applied on a limited basis and only to families where one spouse was a Korean citizen. Also problematic was the lack of safeguards for the rights of “marriage migrants” who divorced.

Ms. McDougall concluded by saying that she had an impression that the old notions of protecting the purity of Korean blood-lines were still alive, as demonstrated in the State party’s careful distinctions between Korean citizens and non-citizens when extending rights and protection.

Questions by Other Committee Members

GUN KUT, Committee Rapporteur for Follow-up to Concluding Observations, commended the State party for its timely submission of the interim report in which it had addressed all the questions raised by the Committee in connection with the concluding observations from 2012. The Committee had requested the State party to submit information regarding the employment permit system for migrant workers, the ratification of the Convention on the Protection of All Migrant Workers and Their Families, protection of the rights of undocumented migrant workers, expulsion and detention of undocumented migrants, and the situation of refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons. The Committee had noted the lack of legislative changes to guarantee mandatory birth registration of non-citizen children.

An Expert observed that the Republic of Korea needed migrant workers due to the low birth rate and ageing population. Since access to Korean nationality was restricted, would the State party make the naturalization process less restrictive? Refugees and asylum seekers often could not obtain birth certificates from their countries of origin. Would the State party improve the provision of that service to those foreigners who could not obtain it?

There was no protection of migrant children from detention and deportation. Since 2015 more than 200 children had been detained for the violation of the Immigration Act. Did detained children have full access to education? What was the average length of preventive detention?

The restriction on family reunion remained and prejudices against migrants from low-income countries could lead to the exploitation and ill-treatment of migrant workers. There had been several reports of violent crackdowns on migrant workers by the Ministry of Justice, leading even to death. Would the Government amend the Labour Law with respect to the right of migrant workers to change employers? How could migrant workers prove mistreatment by employers? Would the Government ensure the right of migrant workers, particularly those in agriculture and fisheries, to self-organize? Migrant workers in the agricultural sector had low access to healthcare, an Expert observed.

The number of asylum applications had increased from some 2,000 in 2012 to more than 10,000 in 2017. Would the authorities provide refugee determination officers with appropriate and culturally sensitive training? One Expert pointed to the prolonged detention of foreigners, noting that some had even been detained for six years. Would the authorities amend the Immigration Act to limit the detention period?

Did the State party plan to expand the scope of protection of multicultural unions? An Expert warned of the derogatory language used on social media platforms when referring to multicultural families. The number of so-called “marriage migrants” had doubled between 2012 and 2017, and it currently stood at about 280.

Migrant women accounted for almost 40 per cent of all migrant workers in the Republic of Korea. Were there any plans to provide maternity coverage, child support and unemployment benefits to them? Many migrant women sexually harassed at the workplace were unable to bring their complaints to light. How could the Government address that problem? The Experts also flagged the problem of differential salaries for migrant workers.

The Experts noted that the definition of trafficking in persons in the Criminal Code, especially when it concerned women and children, was not in line with the Palermo Protocol. How many persons had been prosecuted and punished for trafficking?

What was the coverage of school courses on multiculturalism? What was the number of stateless persons? What statistical data was available on women victims of domestic violence? What was the number of racially motivated hate crimes?

The Refugee Committee under the Ministry of Justice had held only six meetings in 2017 to deal with more than 4,500 appeal cases. Was the refugee appeal procedure intrinsically flawed with so many appeal cases in so few meetings? Did the low rate of refugee recognition go hand-in-hand with the rise in anti-immigrant sentiment in the country? Would the State party contemplate taking active measures to counter hate speech?

Referring to instances of police violence against human rights defenders, an Expert asked whether the State party planned to train the police on the maintenance of public order and on human rights issues?

What was the update on drafting a comprehensive anti-discrimination law? The definition of racial discrimination differed across national laws, and there was no clear definition of indirect discrimination. Were the rulings of the Supreme Court on indirect discrimination applied by courts?

What were the criteria for obtaining a permanent residence permit in the Republic of Korea? Could a foreign spouse keep the permit after divorce?

How did the Republic of Korea participate in the International Decade for People of African Descent?

Replies by the Delegation

KANG JEONG-SIK, Deputy Minister for Multilateral and Global Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, thanked the Committee Experts for their questions and comments. The Experts’ opinions provided the delegation with an opportunity to look at issues in a more objective manner, to assess them and to formulate relevant policies.

In 2013, the Ministry of Justice, together with other relevant ministries, had set up a council for the adoption of an anti-discrimination law. The Third National Action Plan for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights 2018-2022 envisaged the adoption of such a law in order to protect the right to equality, the delegation clarified. As for the Constitutional Court’s two judgments on indirect discrimination, the delegation explained that they could apply to cases of racial discrimination.

As for the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent, the delegation explained that the Government had not established a specific plan, but it noted that the Second National Action Plan for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights contained actions relevant to the Durban Programme. In addition, the authorities had set up the Korea-Africa Foundation.

The term “illegal immigrants” described persons who overstayed their visa or who did not register as foreigners. The Government had countered the fake news regarding the Yemeni asylum seekers on Jeju island by publishing correct information about the situation. The authorities would look into whether any defamation had been committed and it would take stringent actions.

Responding to Experts’ questions about hate speech in online and traditional media, the delegation explained that a relevant committee had conducted monitoring for racist hate speech. The Broadcasting Act stipulated fines and actions against managers and personnel for broadcasting programmes containing hate speech. Since there was no separate legislation punishing hate speech, there were no relevant statistics.

With respect to Islamophobia, the delegation noted that specialized prosecutors led investigations to determine whether there was any defamation. If hate speech constituted defamation or insult, it was punished under the law. As for defining hate speech as a separate crime, it would be quite difficult to define a clear scope.

Foreigners signed labour contracts before they arrived in the country, but they should not be unfairly prevented from changing their workplace. If the employer-worker dispute hindered the change of the workplace, foreign workers who were treated illegally and unfairly could change the workplace without deducting from the allowed number of workplace changes. Foreigner workers could freely form or join labour unions. There had been no case of deportation of foreign workers because they were members of labour unions.

With respect to Experts’ concern that migrant workers in agriculture and fisheries were not paid the minimum wage, the delegation stressed that the Government equally applied labour-related laws to foreign workers, including the Minimum Wage Act. When foreign workers signed labour contracts, the Government checked whether those contracts contained provisions on the minimum wage. It was true that some employers did not respect the law in that respect and mindful of that situation, the authorities would conduct intensive supervision.

The Ministry of Employment and Labour explained that any violations identified through supervision were strictly punished. More than 7,000 violations of the Labour Law had been identified during the reporting period. The percentage of judicial actions was not high due to the fact that the violations were minor in their nature. In 2017, out of some 55,000 requests for workplace change, 95.5 per cent had been re-employed within the given timeframe. Relevant guidelines to prevent long working hours were in place in the agricultural and livestock sector.

The Nationality Act and laws on social benefits were not entirely in line with the Convention on the Protection of All Migrant Workers and Their Families, and as such they could not be immediately amended. However, the Republic of Korea treated foreign workers equally under the Labour Standards Act, the Minimum Wage Act, the Occupational Hazards Act, and other labour-related acts. The number of foreign workers registered for the mandatory State health insurance was lower than that of Korean workers because the majority worked in small-scale businesses. The Government would ensure that no foreign worker was excluded from the health insurance scheme.

The Ministry of Justice informed that 28,784 foreigners had been deported in 2016, whereas in 2017 that number was 26,694. Children of recognized refugees could receive an alien registration permit with their hospital issued birth certificate. The Ministry of Justice had taken action on the universal birth registration and would conduct research on various points of dispute.

On the facilitation of the naturalization process, the Ministry of Justice stated that it would streamline the unnecessary administrative steps and shorten the process. Since 2014, the number of applications for naturalization had been increasing. In 2017, the number of naturalized persons stood at 10,086. The number of approved naturalizations had seen a slight decrease in the past year, but it was not directly correlated to hostility towards foreigners. Those who had invested significantly in the Republic of Korea did not have to reside a certain number of years in the country in order to be naturalized.

Pursuant to the Refugee Act, the refugee determination procedure was conducted professionally by relevant officers. Professional interpreters were appointed to help refugees during the procedure. There were 39 refugee determination procedure officers in total. However, due to the rising number of asylum seekers, there was a backlog of cases and the authorities were working to increase the number of refugee determination procedure personnel. The Ministry of Justice was working to enhance the competence of the refugee determination procedure personnel in cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Persons whose refugee status had been denied could submit an appeal to the Refugee Committee, which was composed of 15 members and was not a standing body. The review of appeals, therefore, could not be conducted regularly. The Government was working to make the Refugee Committee a permanent body with extended membership (30 members and some standing members) in order to improve the expertise and fairness of the appeal process.

Persons with a humanitarian status received access to refugee support facilities and the authorities were working to improve other benefits for them. They were not guaranteed the right to family reunion. However, if they had children below the age of 18, they could be granted such a permission. Migrant detention centres had telephone booths from which migrants could call the Ministry of Justice’s panel for the monitoring of human rights violations and receive counselling services in English or Chinese. The panel was made up of human rights activists and lawyers, academics and persons of various other backgrounds.

With respect to the Experts’ question about a limit for the detention of foreigners, the delegation clarified that there was no legal cap placed on their detention. However, every three months the Ministry of Justice needed to extend the detention time. The average period of detention was 10 days. For any foreign minor, even if subject to deportation, the detention period was kept to a minimum. Their deportation was suspended until they finished school. To counter racist perceptions about Muslims and their frequent association with terrorist activities, the authorities had conducted cultural sensitivity training for immigration officers.

The Ministry of Education informed that the entry of migrant children into the public education system was a very important issue. It encouraged their admission to the public education system in order to guarantee their right to education. As of 2018, there were over 22,000 foreign children studying in the Republic of Korea. Schools provided health insurance to children for any accidents that took place at school. Migrant children also benefitted from regular medical check-ups at schools.

To prevent prejudice and discrimination against multicultural families, the authorities provided multicultural education in pre-school, primary and secondary schools. All concepts about the national homogeneity had been removed from the school curricula and they had been replaced with concepts of diversity and multiculturalism. In the early 2000s, multicultural families had begun increasing quickly and the authorities had started adopting multicultural family policies. Foreign families were allowed to take part in various activities in multicultural family centres across the country.

To promote multiculturalism among the general public, the authorities conducted regular multicultural sensitivity surveys because it was important to explore the prevalence of discrimination and prejudice, including through media monitoring. It was still necessary to adopt measures to ensure that multicultural families were not discriminated against.

The Criminal Code prohibited the act of buying or selling persons, and it contained provisions on aggravating circumstances. In June 2016, the Ministry of Justice had adopted the indicators for identifying and protecting victims of trafficking in persons. In the past three years, the Government had provided assistance to victims of trafficking in 29 cases.

As for the rights of female migrant workers, the Ministry of Employment and Labour clarified that they received maternity protection and leave. However, the Government was still discussing whether to provide them with unemployment benefits. Female migrant workers could receive complaint counselling and Korean language classes as support. The Government conducted strict monitoring of foreign entertainers on the D6 visa in order to prevent sex trafficking.

The “marriage migrant” status was not granted to non-citizens in case of divorce or dissolution of union with the Korean spouse or partner. However, they were permitted to stay in the country if they took care of their Korean children and family.

The Government provided social adaptation, social security benefits, and residential and employment support to defectors from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in order to help them better settle in the Republic of Korea.

Follow-up Questions by the Committee Members

GAY MCDOUGALL, Committee Member and Country Rapporteur for the Republic of Korea, noted that she had not heard much about the investigation and prosecution of hate speech and hate crimes. She was not convinced that the State party could not gather relevant statistics on hate speech and hate crimes. Furthermore, Ms. McDougall drew attention to recorded cases of refugee applications being maliciously rejected by the Korean immigration authorities.

Another Expert observed that he had not seen any facilitation for migrant workers to be able to change their workplace. The employer still held more power than the employee. The employer should be sanctioned more stringently for having mistreated employers. The issue of exploitation of migrant workers in agriculture and fisheries remained problematic.

One Expert noted that she did not understand why the Government needed to conduct public consultations before it established the universal birth registration. As for multicultural education at school, she encouraged the State party to look at how things were thought about rather than just what was thought. What were the results of the media monitoring for hate speech? How could victims prove sexual harassment at the workplace?

Did the State party plan to adopt any plans to promote cultural diversity? With respect to raids against undocumented migrants, an Expert encouraged the State party to avoid too much violence which could result in deaths. Would the State party consider including racial motivation as an aggravating circumstance in a crime?

On access to consular assistance for detained foreigners, another Expert reminded that the Inter-American Court on Human Rights had issued an advisory opinion in which it stated that States had an obligation to allow access to consular assistance.

Replies by the Delegation

KANG JEONG-SIK, Deputy Minister for Multilateral and Global Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, informed that the State party would present answers to the additional questions in writing.

The Ministry of Justice clarified that the Vienna Conventions and its own guidelines on the protection of human rights provided the basis for detained foreigners’ access to consular assistance if they decided to seek such assistance

Concluding Remarks

GAY MCDOUGALL, Committee Member and Country Rapporteur for the Republic of Korea, said that the State party had not made much progress since the previous dialogue with the Committee. The Republic of Korea might be facing a national crisis in the future because those who performed labour in the country were not allowed to enjoy the prosperity of the country. They were sent back to their poor countries. The workings of the State party’s economy were not consistent with the Convention obligations, Ms. McDougall concluded.

KANG JEONG-SIK, Deputy Minister for Multilateral and Global Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, thanked the Committee Experts for their constructive comments, and stressed that all of their comments would be given full consideration by the Government. The delegation understood that there was much room for progress and improvement. The Government would continue its efforts for social integration and diversity.

NOUREDDINE AMIR, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation and wished them a safe trip back home.


For use of the information media; not an official record

CERD18/028E