Today is the 3rd anniversary of the horrific Yeosu Fire Disaster!
Already two days ago migrant workers (supporting) organisations, trade unions - incl. MTU, KCTU - and solidarity groups recalled the date with a protest press conference in front of Seoul's Immigration Center in Mok-dong...
Before yesterday the bourgeois Korea Times reported following:
'Foreigner Detention Centers Get Worse'
Migrant Workers Mark 3rd Year After Yeosu Fire
Three years have passed since a fire took the lives of 10 migrant workers who were being detained at an immigration center in Yeosu, South Jeolla Province. On the anniversary of the tragic accident Tuesday, migrant workers' organizations renewed their calls for the closure of detention centers for foreigners.
The Joint Committee with Migrants in Korea (JCMK) and the Alliance for Migrants' Equality and Human Rights held a press conference to demand the closure of the detention centers and the end of crackdowns and deportation.
"We asked for a new approach in dealing with unregistered migrant workers. Busting and deporting them is not a proper solution," Lee Young, executive secretary of the JCMK, said. "However, the government reinforced their crackdown efforts and some 60,000 of them have been deported since 2008 and the situation at the centers has gotten worse."
They said the condoned cases of abuse against migrant workers are carried out in the name of improving the nation's competitive power. "Migrant workers are not eligible for the minimum wage and work in poorer working conditions than Korean workers. However, the government incites hostility against migrant workers claiming they threaten the jobs of domestic workers," Lee said.
The JCMK added that immigration offices and detention centers were not built for long-term confinement and thus do not have appropriate facilities to accommodate illegal migrants for a long time.
The Seoul Immigration Office held 18,153 foreigners last year, an average of 49 per day. It has been determined by the Ministry of Justice to have the capacity to hold 45 per day.
"The ministry's standard for the accommodation of detained foreigners is about four square meters per person, which is even smaller than the 6.6 square meters of other correctional facilities," Lee said. "Migrants held at the detention center need more space and equipment."
On Feb. 11, 2007, a fire broke out at the detention center of the Yeosu Immigration Office in Yeosu, South Jeolla Province. The fire killed 10 migrant workers...
..and injured 18 others.
Amnesty International issued a 98-page report on the incident last year that said immigration officers and police are often accused of using excessive force against migrant workers. The organization also called for the government to ensure that during immigration raids, authorities adhere to the law requiring them to identify themselves, present a warrant and inform migrant workers of their rights, and to provide prompt medical treatment to those under their custody when needed.