Home > 1 Daily News Brief > News Brief February 15-18, 2011

News Brief February 15-18, 2011

News Brief                                                                                                                              February 15, 2011

Seoul to Offer Language Courses to Children from Multicultural Families

The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced plans to offer better language education courses so that such children from multicultural families could better adapt themselves to Korean society more easily and quickly. One-on-one Korean language lessons at home will be available to such children of foreign or multicultural families simply by calling available teachers. According to the new program, 200 foreign or multicultural families with children aged between three and 12 can receive language lessons in the comfort of their own homes by utilizing this program. The government plans to expand the program to 2,500 families by 2013.

Further Demonstrations against the NHRCK

A former investigator for the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK), staged a one-person demonstration, holding a signboard in front of the NHRCK building in Seoul, and spoke with colleagues. The investigator, a certified labor attorney, submitted her resignation on February 8, protesting the NHRCK administration’s decision not to renew the contract of irregular researcher Kang In-yeong, who criticized the commission under Chairperson Hyun Byung-chul as vice president of the NHRCK chapter of the Korean Government Employees’ Union (KGEU). The NHRCK union chapter filed a petition to the commission calling the decision “employment discrimination due to labor union activity,” but the NHRCK denied the existence of the labor union, saying the NHRCK has never interacted or negotiated with the union.

February 16, 2011

Scholarship Students Commits Suicide over Expulsion

A female student enrolled in a university under scholarships committed suicide after receiving a notice of expulsion due to poor grades. Police found the body of the 23-year-old student in the bathroom of her home in Dongdaemun-gu, southern Seoul, after her parents who lived in the countryside reported that they could not contact her for days. According to the parents, their daughter told them that she had to study one more semester because she was under academic probation. Police found an expulsion letter at her home. Police are investigating to confirm that depression caused by her poor grades and expulsion led her to take her own life.

United Nations Concerned over Korea’s Diminishing Freedom of Expression

A special envoy from the United Nations has expressed his concern over South Koreans’ diminished right to freedom of opinion and expression, urging the government to fully guarantee the rights of all individuals to express diverse opinions. In the report, which will be submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council in June 2011, UN Special Rapporteur Frank La Rue said human rights have been severely restricted since 2008 when President Lee Myung-bak took office. He said there had been an increasing number of prosecutions to suppress individuals who express views that are not in agreement with the position of the government, based on laws that were often not in conformity with international standards.

February 17, 2011

SNU Professor Denies Abusing Students

A professor at Seoul National University (SNU) has denied allegations that she habitually abused her students over the past 10 years. The denial came several days after SNU announced that it is investigating the professor following complaints from students. The investigation began when a pupil filed a complaint this month to the school authorities, saying that the professor would slap the students, throw key chains and a mirror, throw flowers after a performance because the students didn’t applaud loud enough and forcing them to buy tickets for her concerts. The professor did not deny that she hit her students, but explained that she did not consider the hitting as physical violence or abuse.

Police to Seek Arrest Warrant for Suspected Murderer

Police are investigating the suspicious death of a doctor’s pregnant wife and are looking into the possible destruction of evidence by the doctor, the suspected killer. After a raid on the couple’s house in Seoul, police allowed the husband to return home because they had no legal grounds to retain him from his home. However, police have since been investigating whether or not he has tried to destroy evidence. Police plan to re-seek an arrest warrant for the doctor next week on charges of murder as a local court rejected the first warrant request earlier this month. According to the report, the woman, who was nine months pregnant, likely died from strangulation and not from an accidental fall as alleged by the doctor.

February 18, 2011
High School Teacher Fined for Hitting Student

A Seoul court ordered a high school teacher to pay damages for hitting a student on the hands, giving her bruises and inflammations. The Seoul Northern District Court ordered the 52-year-old teacher to pay her former student 2.54 KRW (USD 2,280) in compensation and medical expenses.

Seoul to Open Boarding School for North Korean Defector Children

A boarding school for North Korean defector children will open in Seoul next week, aimed at offering Korean language lessons to those from low-income households. According to North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity, the School will start its first semester with 27 elementary students. The school will be operated as a boarding school and tuition fees and boarding expenses will be offered free of charge. Some defector children have difficulty adapting to general local schools as many of them cannot speak Korean due to their long stay in other countries such as China before entering South Korea.

Court Orders Compensation for Victim of Police Torture

The Seoul Central District Court decided partially in favor of a plaintiff who filed a claim for damages against the government for mental abuse he endured while being tortured by police officers as an alleged criminal suspect at Yangcheon Police Station last year. The judge ordered the government to pay Kim 20 million KRW (USD 18,000).  The justice department said that “the police officers treated [the plaintiff] harshly during the police investigation, which caused [him] pain,” and that, “the country should be responsible to compensate for the damages caused by the unlawful actions of public officials.”


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