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U.S. Human Rights Report, “Discrimination Against Women and Elderly is Rampant in Korea”

U.S. Human Rights Report, “Discrimination Against Women and Elderly is Rampant in Korea”

Posted March. 10, 2006 02:59,   


The U.S. Department of State specifically referred to gender discrimination, domestic violence and human trafficking in Korea, in its “Human Rights Report 2005” released on March 8. The report also mentioned North Korea as a country with the worst human rights records.

The report pointed that discrimination on gender and age still remains in Korea, citing that Korean women are paid only 63 percent of what men are, and senior citizens aged over 50 have only 33.7 percent of the opportunities that young people are given.

In addition, it reported that sex trade is widely taking place in Korea, making the country the hub of international female human trafficking. The report added that about 8,000 people with AIDS are facing social discrimination.

The Human Rights Report noted that due foreigners find it difficult to gain Korean citizenship because of the complicated procedure based on the “right of blood.” It said that despite the recent increase of foreigners who have filed for refugee status, “the Korean government rarely endows refugee status.”

With regard to North Korea, the report said, “The systematically oppressive regime is controlling all aspects of people’s lives.” And it stressed, “The nation is in a more serious isolation as international relief organizations’ activities in the country have been substantially reduced.”

It noted that 150,000 to 200,000 political prisoners are in prison camps and, though the regime recently reduced the number of camps from over 20 to less than 10, it does not seem to have reduced the number of prisoners.

The report cited North Korea as the “most organized human rights violators” along with China, Myanmar, Iran, Zimbabwe, and Cuba.

As for China, it explained, “An increasing number of dissidents are harassed, detained or imprisoned. The Chinese government continues to seriously infringe upon human rights, and the press, broadcasting and Internet are controlled by the government authorities.”

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice assessed, “This Human Rights Report will encourage government organizations and media of the world to appropriately deal with the human rights issue.”

Meanwhile, responding to the U.S. report, China released a human rights record that harshly criticized the U.S. human rights situation on March 9 that stated that the U.S. Human Rights Record 2005 released by China’s State Council argued that U.S. citizens are not safe from violent crimes and surveillance, control and illegal detention are frequent in the U.S.

Mi-Kyung Jung mickey@donga.com