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News Brief February 19-22

News Brief                                                                                                             February 19, 2011
Two Teenagers Sentenced for Sexually Assaulting Student 

Two teenagers, who inhaled adhesives before filming themselves sexually assaulting a female middle school student, were sentenced to three years of imprisonment. The Seoul Appellate Court sentenced the two teenagers, both aged 16, to three years of imprisonment on charges of robbing and sexually molesting a 15-year-old student.  According to prosecutors, the two teens were living together after running away from their homes. Prosecutors stated that the two teens stole a younger student’s cell phone, dragged her to a nearby restroom, stripped her, and forcefully molested her numerous times, while filming the assault with her stolen cell phone.


Students Present at the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child

Two 15-year-old Korean students stood in front of 18 civil rights commissioners as presenters in a conference room of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva on Feb. 10. The conference was held to evaluate Korea’s child and adolescent rights. The two students were the first young Koreans to participate in the UN conference. The students started their presentation by saying that children’s rights in Korea aren’t respected enough and that the reason is that adults fail to pay attention to what they say. “Adults tend to think we don’t care, but we have worries and secrets we want to keep,” said one of the students during her UN presentation. The student also voiced a need for adolescent voting rights.

February 20, 2011

Protests End in Negotiations

Cleaners, guards and other non-permanent workers at Hongik University reached a tentative agreement with their employers, ending the 49-day labor dispute that started with a sit-in protest at the school campus in Seoul. The two labor supplying companies that fired them decided to rehire them and further negotiated with the school on their behalf, according to the unionized workers. The union of the workers is a member of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU). KCTU said that the workers have agreed with the companies regarding payments and working conditions during a meeting on Sunday morning with 86 workers of the 112 union members.


Korean Universities Ill Equip to Handle Foreign Students

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology investigated 29 universities nationwide from December through January and found that all of them had violated more than one of the rules on foreign student management. Ten schools were warned for offenses that include giving credits to students who had not attended class; helping the graduation of foreign students who hadn’t showed up at classes; and not reporting students who violated employment laws to police. Many schools did not monitor student attendance and even awarded diplomas to students who had not qualified for them.

February 21, 2011

Seoul Metro under Fire for Lack of Workers’ Safety

Seoul Metro is under attack lack due to their lack of safety standards for subway track workers with the recent death of a worker who was fatally hit by a train. After the accident, Seoul Metro officials said that workers are on their own in keeping from being hit by trains. The loud noise of the approaching train, the officials said, should be enough of a warning. They did say, however, that they are reviewing the situation. “The working conditions for subway track workers are really poor,” a track worker said on condition of anonymity. “There is no safety device, or system, except a safety helmet.”


South Korean President Calls for ‘Fair Society’

The President of Korea issued a statement calling for the need for a ‘fair society.’ The President’s office stated that, “the creation of a fair society is an ethical, practical task the Republic of Korea needs to take for its advancement. A fair society is a corruption-free society where the laws and institutions work properly. It is a vibrant society based on a sound market economy where equal opportunity is guaranteed. It is a society that embraces the socially vulnerable with caring concern and supports those who want to get back on their own feet… Building a fair society will be successful only when there is active participation by all sectors of society since it requires a change in our awareness, customs and culture. Among other things, it is crucial for leaders in each sector to take the initiative and set a good example. When leaders lead by example, we will be able to expedite the establishment of a fair society.”

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