Home > 1 Daily News Brief > News Briefs April 9-15, 2011

News Briefs April 9-15, 2011

News Briefs                                                                            April 9~15, 2011

9 April 2011


U.S. Denounces North Korean Leader for Human Rights Abuses

The United States denounced North Korean leader Kim Jong-il for ruling the reclusive communist state under an absolute dictatorship with extrajudicial killings and prison camps. In releasing the annual report, Michael Posner, assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, depicted the human rights situation in North Koreaas “grim, grim, grim.” He said the U.S.has “not made much progress” in the North’s human right record due to lack of diplomatic ties and information. There continued to be reports of extrajudicial killings, disappearances, arbitrary detention, arrests of political prisoners, harsh and life-threatening prison conditions and torture.” North Korea is said to have camps accommodating up to 200,000 political prisoners.

10 April 2011

150 Children Commit Suicide Yearly

A recent report highlighted the rash of child suicides in South Korea. The report indicated that nearly 150 elementary and middle school children commit suicide. The number of suicides committed by elementary and middle school students stood at 146 in 2010, 202 in 2009 and 137 in 2008, according to Statistics Korea. The main reasons were listed as family discord and failure to adapt properly to school life. To combat the high suicide rate among young students the government announced plans to establish a suicide prevention committee specially geared towards elementary and middle school children.


Discrimination Still Rampant in Korea

The U.S. State Department said in its country report on human rights that South Koreastill discriminates against minorities and foreigners. Citing a National Human Rights Commission report, the U.S. human rights report said there were six cases of alleged discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans gender (LGBT) persons last year. Koreahas long prided itself on its racial homogeneity, but its growing ethnic minority population passed the 1.2 million mark midway through last year. In cases of discrimination against ethnic minorities, it cited an incident where a man with a mental disability killed his foreign bride, which later led to a swift government crackdown on illegal matchmaking agencies. It also said North Korean refugees, although supported by government-funded resettlement programs, “faced discrimination.”

11 April 2011


14% of Men Found to be Victims of Sexual Abuse as Children

A recent survey indicated that nearly 14 out of every 100 Korean men were sexually abused as children. The survey indicated that out of a total of 1,043 questioned males, 141 (13.5%) suffered from various forms of sexual abuse at least once when they were minors. Respondents were forced to watch pornographic material or were subject to sexually-explicit jokes, while others were coerced to show their genitals. Other forms of sexual abuse included the exposure of touching of genitals against their will. The survey found that nearly 67% of those who either compelled underage boys to expose their genitals or touched them were adult males. About 86% of assailants were acquaintances, including family members and relatives. Only one victim was found to have received professional legal and medical counseling after suffering from sexual abuse, with the remaining 140 left untreated.


230 College Students Commit Suicide Yearly

Recent data indicated that an average of 230 South Korean college students commit suicide every year, amid an alarming series of suicides at the country’s top science university. The number of college students’ suicides fluctuated in the nine years between 2001 and 2009 from as few as 172 in 2004, to as many as 332 in 2008, according to the data submitted to parliament by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology.

12 April 2011

Korean Schools to be Set Up for Migrant Workers

The government is considering establishing Korean language institutes in foreign countries that send workers to Korea through the employment permit system. The Ministry of Employment and Labor said that the institutes would introduce Korean culture and language to permitted workers. Further details have yet to be drawn up but the administration is reportedly looking to set up the language institutes, known as “Sejong hakdang,” in four or five countries, mostly inSoutheast Asia. The countries to host the institutes will be chosen from among the 15 nations that currently send permit workers to Korea.

13 April 2011

Sex Trafficking of North Korean Defectors Crackdown

A human trafficking ring has been cracked down in China for forcing dozens of North Korean female defectors into prostitution after confining them in a cell. The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said Tuesday that they have booked a 40-year-old defector and four others for sexually trafficking defectors. According to the police, the ring profiteered 30 million won, by forcing some 70 North Koreans to sell sex in Qingdao, an eastern Chinese city. The victims were sent to work at local bars, deprived 20% of their 100,000 KRW pay and were physically abused when they failed to make money, said the police. The traffickers collected the women, making false promises that they would be sent to South Korea. The ring said that they would need 3.6 million KRW each to pay a Chinese broker. Authorities believe that there are more people involved and are cracking down on human traffickers in China.

14 April 2011

Sex Offender’s Information to be Made Public

The Ministry of Justice said that the name, photo, address, age and other personal information of sex offenders will be provided to nearby residents via the Internet or mail for a maximum of 10 years. The provision of such data came as part of government efforts to better alert people living close to offenders and reduces the number of sex crimes. Under the new law, the government will notify nearby households with children under the age of 19 via mail of the personal information of those who have been convicted for committing sex crimes against minors. Additionally, more extensive private information of sex criminals, who committed crimes against both minors and adults, will be available at an “online sex offender alter system” (www.sexoffender.go.kr), operated by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. The website provides a photo, height, weight and brief explanation of the offender’s criminal record and consequent court verdicts. The disclosure period of personal information varies in accordance with the sentencing.

15 April 2011

Lawmaker to be Expelled for Sexist Comments

The advisory panel of the parliamentary Ethics Committee has recommended removing a lawmaker expelled from the ruling party for sexist remarks from his seat in the National Assembly. Rep. Kang Yong-seok made a sexist comment insinuating that T.V. newsreaders must provide sexual services for others. The Harvard-educated lawmaker denied the allegation; however, the governing Grand National Party immediately forbade him from rejoining the party for five years as his denial only proved to further infuriate the public.

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