Home > 1 Daily News Brief > News Brief April 16-18, 2011

News Brief April 16-18, 2011

News Briefs                                                                            April 16~18, 2011

16 April 2011

National Police Agency to Root out Gender and Class Discrimination

A human rights watchdog of the National Police Agency (NPA) said that it has been looking into cases of gender and class discrimination in the police in its efforts to root out problems within the law enforcement authority. The NPA Human Rights Protection Center has collected 162 complaints from police officers and other employees since February and found out that there is discrimination on the grounds of gender and rank within the police. The human rights center said it will map out measures to prevent discrimination in the near future and send them to police stations nationwide.

North Korean Defectors to Receive Improved Healthcare

North Korea defectors will be able to receive door-to-door healthcare service in the South from fellow North Korean defectors, reported the Ministry of Health and Welfare. They will also be able to receive tailored medical services at local public healthcare centers. Authorities have hired 10 North Korean defectors with counseling licenses at public healthcare centers of 10 regions where more than 100 defectors reside. The counselors, paired with professional nurses, will visit residences of North Korean defectors and check their health status, screen for possible infection of tuberculosis, hepatitis B, and mental disorders. They will provide information about medication, nutrition and exercise or translate for the nurses in medical procedures. They will also link them with local public healthcare centers, where tailored services will be provided without the risk of identity exposure. The service is expected to bridge defectors and local communities.


17 April 201

UN Slams Korea for Violating Conscientious Objectors’ Rights

The United Nations Human Rights Committee said the South Korean government infringed on the freedom of conscience and religious freedom by imprisoning conscientious objectors who are Jehovah’s Witnesses. The committee demanded the government expunge their criminal records and provide adequate compensation, and set measures to prevent the recurrence of similar cases in the future, according to the Korean headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was the committee’s third and latest ruling of this kind following a collective petition filed with the international human rights watchdog by 100 Korean believers convicted of the charges.

NHRCK to Investigate KAIST

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) said it is investigating whether the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology’s (KAIST) penalty tuition system violates human rights. The investigation follows the New Progressive Party’s petition filed with the commission, stating that the school’s system violated KAIST students’ right of equality and the right to pursue one’s happiness. The commission added that this was the first time for such a petition to be registered concerning a university, although there were examples of discrimination based on grades at high schools. The penalty tuition system became a controversy after four students committed suicide within the past four months.

18 April 2011

Samsung Grudgingly Apologizes for Suicide, Reluctantly Pledges Changes

An employee at the Tangjeong factory of Samsung Electronics in Asan,South Chungcheong Province, committed sucide by jumping from the thirteenth floor of his dormitory. His suicide came 373 days after he joined the company. Evidence indicates that the victim took his own life due to depression from excessive working hours and stress and family members have demanded an apology from the company and measures to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. They also claim that the company ignored no fewer than four previous suicide attempts by the victim without taking any appropriate measures to prevent further actions. Samsung has refused to acknowledge this evidence that it knew about Kim’s suicide attempts. However, Samsung Electronics representatives have signed an agreement that included a company apology and pledge to prevent similar incidents from occurring. 

Korean Military to Reflect an Increasingly Multicultural Korea

The military has decided to omit the word “minjok,” which refers to the Korean race, from the oath of enlistment for officers and soldiers, and replace it with “the citizen.” The measure reflects the growing number of foreigners who gain Korean citizenship and of children from mixed marriages entering military service.  Article 5 of the law governing military service stipulates that new officers and enlisted soldiers have to swear “utmost loyalty to the nation and the race as a soldier of theRepublicofKorea.” One military official said, “The change will apply immediately at the upcoming enlistment ceremony for officers on April 26 and all thereafter.” The military says the changes reflect the shifts in Korean society, which is becoming increasingly multicultural. 

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