World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Expert Urges Republic of Korea to Protect Migrants

Independent UN Rights Expert Urges Republic of Korea to Protect Migrants, Foreign Wives

New York, Dec 11 2006 5:00PM

An independent United Nations rights expert today called on the Republic of Korea to take further steps to expand the rights of foreign wives of its nationals and voiced concern over discriminatory measures against migrants.

“Many foreign wives unable to understand the South Korean language remain stranded in rural areas,” the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants Jorge Bustamante said in a statement in Seoul, the capital, at the end of a five-day visit, noting that their legal rights, including residency permits, child custody and divorce even in cases of domestic violence, depend solely on their husbands’ consent.

“In many cases, these women faced severe racial discrimination, emotional and physical abuse, depression and maltreatment. Significant language and cultural barriers make their social integration very difficult and kept them unaware of their rights,” he added, even as he welcomed certain improvements.

“So far no legislation or policies had been sufficiently established in Korea to provide protection for these women. In their meetings with the Special Rapporteur foreign wives who had run away from abusive husbands shared their worries about their future due to their precarious or nonexistent residency status,” he noted.

He stressed that the rapid increase in mixed marriages means Korean society as a whole, including Government agencies, civil society and the local population, needs to collectively show more comprehension, support and friendship to these foreign wives.

But he commended steps taken by the Government to redress the powerlessness of foreign wives by establishing integration and insertion programmes especially in rural areas. However these were still at a nascent stage having begun only in 2005 and needed to be expanded at a larger and faster scale as the main problems faced by mixed couples were language and the wives’ lack of access to language training.

On migrant workers Mr. Bustamante noted that the Government has tried to increase their protection by drafting the Employment Permit for Migrant Workers Act. But he voiced concern about certain aspects of the Act, most notably the fact that it only grants migrant workers a legal status for a non-renewable three years, meaning those affected would remain vulnerable within the Korean community.

Some migrants have been in the country for more than 10 years without any steps being taken to regularize them, he noted. As a result they have not been able to reunite with their families. Even when their families were staying with them in the country, they were deprived access to basic facilities.

Special Rapporteurs are unpaid, independent experts who report to the UN Human Rights Council.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

ITUC: Nobel Prize In Economics Explodes Minimum Wage And Jobs Myth

The prize was awarded to David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens for real-world research in the 1990s that demonstrated, empirically, that the idea touted by conservative economists that higher minimum wages mean fewer jobs is not based on fact... More>>

Science Media Centre: New South Wales Opens Up For Fully-vaccinated – Aus SMC Expert Reaction
Sydney has partially eased Covid-19 restrictions for fully-vaccinated individuals after NSW reached its target of 70 per cent of the population double-dosed. The Australian Science Media Centre has asked experts about the possible risks of the country opening up again...More>>


Nobel Peace Prize: Journalists Who ‘Speak Truth To Power’ Recognized

Two campaigning journalists were awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, which UN Secretary-General António Guterres said was recognition that a free press is “essential for peace, justice, sustainable development and human rights – and the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions”...
More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs


UN: With Clock Ticking, Sustainable Transport Key To Global Goals
From electric cars and buses to zero-carbon producing energy sources, new and emerging technologies along with innovative policy changes, are critical for combating climate change. But to be effective, they must ensure that transport strategies benefit everyone, including the poorest... More>>


COP26: 7 Climate Action Highlights To Remember

A September to remember, a pivotal month for climate action commitments. From the United Nations General Assembly week to the final pre-COP meeting, last month was an important time to build momentum... More>>


UN: Global Leaders Set To Act To Increase Energy Access While Reducing Emissions At First UN Energy Summit In 40 Years

Significant new commitments for financing clean energy, increasing renewables and improving access to electricity are expected to be announced on 24 September at the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy... More>>