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Today's Hankyoreh published the following report:


Crackdown on migrant workers escalates prior to G20


The government has continued to receive criticism for the violent tactics used and infringements on human rights

 


MTU offical, center, speaks during a press conference held to launch “Cat’s Eye”, a group to monitor

human rights infringements against migrant workers during crackdowns in S. Korea, June 30.


The government is strengthening its crackdown on unregistered migrant workers, prior to the G20 summit this November, and has invited censure for human rights abuses and excessive crackdowns. In particular, fines that were exempted after a migrant worker unable to pay the fine committed suicide in 2000 have been re-instituted, and migrant workers caught in the crackdown are being fined and deported. Migrant worker groups have protested that the procedure is double punishment in detaining, forcibly fining and then deporting people for being unregistered migrants.


At the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) in Seoul’s Jung-gu on Wednesday morning, the Joint Committee with Migrants in Korea (JCMK), Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) and Migrants’ Trade Union (MTU) launched “Cat’s Eye,” a group to monitor human rights infringements against migrant workers. They plan to conduct activities to monitor human rights abuses during migrant worker crackdowns, which have suddenly shot up in numbers recently.


During the launching ceremony, they also highlighted the violence used by crackdown teams and the imposition of unreasonable fines.

 

Mr. G, a migrant worker from the Philippines, was caught by immigration officials at a factory in Incheon early last month. Pointing to the wages in his paycheck account, Incheon immigration officials told him to pay a fine, as he was an unregistered migrant. The immigration office deported Mr. G after taking the fine. Migrant worker groups in Daegu said immigration officials forced migrants to pay fines as they would receive back wages, and they also levy fines by forcefully confiscating bank account books and personal possessions such as gold necklaces.


Lee Young, a senior official of JCMK, said in anticipation of the G20 summit, the government is strengthening its crackdown on unregistered migrants, and human rights abuses are occurring frequently from crackdowns at factories, homes, on the street, subway stations and bus terminals, both day and night. He said with general society stressing results rather than human rights in conjunction with the launch of the Lee Myung-bak administration, these kinds of violent crackdowns have been occurring frequently.


During the launching ceremony, Mr. Yoon of Korean-Chinese nationality, 48, claimed an official at Suwon’s immigration office kicked him in the stomach and beat his face and back with handcuffs.


“Since Mr. Yoon hurt the official during a crackdown, the official beat him in his sides in the interrogation room,” said a Justice Ministry official in response.


In September 2008, the Justice Ministry said it would reduce the number of illegal migrant workers by 10 percent from the 220 thousand recorded at the time by 2012. In fact, according to Korea Immigration Service statistics from the end of last year, the number of staff hired to facilitate crackdowns has continued to increase, from 20,455 in 2007 to 30,831 in 2008 and 31,506 in 2009. The Justice Ministry said it is currently conducting its first crackdown from June 7 to July 6, but it has yet to determine exactly how many individuals it has arrested.


http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/428394.html

 

 

 

 

 

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