COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES
UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF THE CONVENTION
Concluding observations of the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Republic of Korea
199. The seventh periodic
report of the Republic of Korea (CERD/C/221/Add.1) was considered
by the Committee at its 987th meeting held on 3 August 1993 (CERD/C/SR.987).
200. The report was
introduced by the representative of the reporting State, who briefly
described the major developments that had occurred recently in his
country. He drew particular attention to his Government's accession
to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and
its Optional Protocol and to the 1951 Convention relating to the
Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol. He also highlighted measures
taken by his Government to implement various articles of the Convention,
pointing, in that regard, to his Government's enhanced involvement
in international efforts to dismantle apartheid in South Africa.
201. Members of the
Committee thanked the Government of the Republic of Korea for the
timely submission of its report, which demonstrated the Government's
serious attitude towards its obligations under the Convention. While
it was observed that the information contained in the report was
useful and had answered questions raised by the Committee in its
examination of previous reports, it was also noted that the report
did not contain sufficient information on the practical implementation
of the Convention and on the factors and difficulties impeding the
implementation of the Convention. It was recommended that information
on those and other matters, including texts of the legislative measures
taken to give effect to the provisions of the Convention, should
be included in the next periodic report.
202. Members of the
Committee also requested information on the system of administration
of justice, on the impartiality and independence of the judiciary
and on the scope of implementation of the national security law,
especially as they related to the practical implementation of the
rights contained in the Convention.
203. Members of the
Committee drew attention to the reports they had received of xenophobia
and of discrimination allegedly practised against foreign residents,
particularly those of Chinese descent, foreign workers and children
of mixed parentage. Further information was requested concerning
the situation of those groups and general social attitudes towards
them. In addition, members of the Committee sought clarification
on allegations of discrimination against persons from regions other
than the south-east of the Republic of Korea.
204. Members of the
Committee also requested clarification as to the status of the Convention
in domestic law, especially in the event of conflict between the
provisions of the Convention and the Constitution, as article 6.1
of the Constitution appeared to render the Convention equal in status
but not superior to domestic law.
205. With regard to
article 2 of the Convention, members of the Committee noted that
article 11 of the Constitution, which provided for the prohibition
of discrimination, contained no reference to the prohibition of
racial discrimination and requested clarification in that regard.
206. Referring to the
importance of establishing national human rights institutions to
facilitate the implementation of the Convention, members of the
Committee asked whether the State party had taken any steps in that
207. Concerning article
3 of the Convention, members of the Committee asked for information
on any recent changes regarding the implementation of its provisions.
208. With regard to
article 4 of the Convention, members of the Committee emphasized
the need to take positive measures to prevent xenophobia and racial
discrimination, expressing concern at the omission of provisions
against racial discrimination from the State party's penal law.
209. In connection with
article 5 of the Convention, members of the Committee sought clarification
on matters relating to: naturalization and the rights to inheritance
of naturalized citizens; foreigners' eligibility to join or create
trade unions and enjoy the benefit of their protection; the level
of wages received by foreign workers; and foreign workers' enjoyment
of the rights to medical and other social services.
210. In respect of article
6 of the Convention, members of the Committee requested clarification
as to the reasons for the lack of complaints of racial discrimination
before the court or administrative authorities and as to the remedies
available to victims of racial discrimination in the event of violations
by government bodies and public agencies.
211. Concerning article
7 of the Convention, members of the Committee sought further information
on the number, status and funding of schools for foreigners. They
also wished to know more about the activities undertaken to promote
human rights, understanding and tolerance in schools, in general,
and the human rights training given to law enforcement officials,
212. Members of the
Committee also requested further information on the reported intention
of the State party to make the declaration provided for in article
14 of the Convention.
213. In reply to questions
raised by the members of the Committee the representative of the
State party provided information on the breakdown of the foreign
population in the State party and the trends in the size of the
foreign population over time, especially with regard to the Chinese.
In addition, he denied that there was discrimination in the State
party on the basis of regionalism.
214. With respect to
concerns raised over the status of the Convention in domestic law,
the representative stated that his Government had incorporated the
Convention in the law of the Republic of Korea so that it was directly
applicable and could be invoked before the courts.
With regard to the question raised as to the omission of the
prohibition of racial
discrimination in article 11 of the Constitution, the representative
replied that article 37 of the Constitution covered that point
it provided that the freedoms and rights of citizens "shall
not be neglected on the grounds that they are not enumerated in
216. In respect of article
3 of the Convention, the representative indicated that his Government
had lifted economic sanctions against South Africa except the ban
on arms, nuclear technology and oil.
217. Concerning article
4 of the Convention, the representative pointed out that should
problems of racial discrimination arise, his Government would strengthen
protective measures, as necessary.
218. In connection with
article 5, the representative provided information on the requirements
of naturalization and cases when such requirements could be waived
or reduced. In addition, he informed the Committee that naturalized
citizens benefited from the same rights and had the same obligations
as other citizens. Non-nationals could own property subject to the
existence of a policy of reciprocity in the State of which they
were nationals. Equally, foreign workers had the same rights as
workers who were nationals of the country, provided that they were
legally registered for work, i.e. in accordance with immigration
219. With regard to
article 7 of the Convention, the representative indicated that many
schools for foreign nationals covered both primary and secondary
levels and that his Government did not provide funding for such
schools. There was no discrimination against foreign schools in
relation to diplomas, since all schools were evaluated in accordance
with uniform standards. Schools played an important role in promoting
human rights, and educating people about human rights and observed
human rights week each December. In addition, the representative
explained that his Government recognized the importance of educating
law enforcement officers in human rights standards and that a training
programme for such officers was in operation.
220. In regard to the
declaration under article 14 of the Convention, the representative
indicated that his Government was still deliberating on that matter.
221. Finally, the representative
said that he would transmit the Committee's comments to his Government,
particularly those relating to article 4 of the Convention, national
human rights institutions and the incorporation of the prohibition
of racial discrimination in the Constitution. The new President
of the Republic of Korea was committed to the promotion and protection
of human rights and new goals were being set and new programmes
developed to that end. The next report to be submitted under the
Convention would reflect those developments.
222. At its 1007th meeting,
held on 17 August 1993, the Committee adopted the following concluding
223. The Committee noted
the timely submission of the report of the Republic of Korea which
was a reflection of the Government's seriousness in meeting its
obligations under the Convention.
224. The Committee welcomed
the information contained in the report and the additional information
provided by the delegation in its oral presentation.
(b) Positive aspects
225. The Committee welcomed
the measures taken by the State party to introduce policies and
to promulgate legislation in conformity with its international human
rights treaty obligations. The Committee appreciated, in particular,
the efforts of the Republic of Korea to implement article 3 of the
Convention and noted the intention of the Government actively to
consider making the declaration under article 14 of the Convention.
226. The Committee also
noted that the State party had not encountered any serious ethnic
problems during the reporting period.
(c) Principal subjects
227. The Committee noted
with concern that article 11 of the Constitution and other legal
provisions prohibiting discrimination contained no reference to
race and other factors as grounds of discrimination.
228. The Committee was
equally concerned that the necessary legislative and other measures
to prevent and prohibit racial discrimination had not been taken
by the State party. It noted, in particular, that domestic legislation
lacked provisions to implement article 4 of the Convention and did
not provide for the criminal penalization of racially discriminatory
229. The Committee expressed
its concern at the reported discrimination suffered by Amerasian
children, children of foreign workers and their spouses and persons
living in regions other than the south-east of the Republic of Korea.
(d) Suggestions and
230. The Committee recommended
that the State party's next report should include sufficient information
on the implementation of the Convention in practice, including factors
and difficulties encountered in that regard. Equally, the report
should contain the text of legislative provisions such as relevant
parts of the Constitution and Penal Code designed to prevent and
address problems of racial discrimination.
The Committee recommended that the State party should study
carefully various General Recommendations
adopted by the Committee on matters relating to the implementation
of the Convention. The contents of those Recommendations should
not only guide the State party in the preparation of its next
but also assist it in determining the action to be taken to ensure
more effective compliance with the provisions of the Convention.
In that respect, particular attention was drawn to the mandatory
nature of compliance with the provisions of article 4 of the
concerning the prohibition of racial discrimination; the development
of national institutions to protect and promote human rights,
with regard to matters of racial discrimination; and the importance
of providing human rights training and education to law enforcement
232. In addition, the
Committee recommended that steps be taken to rectify the omission
of race as a ground for discrimination from national legislation.
The State party should also give careful consideration to adopting
measures to prevent discrimination and to providing for the punishment
of discrimination in criminal law.
233. The Committee encouraged
the State party to make the declaration under article 14 of the
Convention and recommended that the State party should give serious
consideration to setting up a national institution composed of independent
members to monitor the implementation of human rights, including
matters relating to discrimination.
234. Moreover, the Committee
expressed the wish to receive further information, in the next report,
on the actual status of the Convention in domestic legislation,
particularly in cases where the provisions of domestic legislation
conflicted with those of international instruments; on the situation
of children of mixed parentage and foreign workers and the general
social attitude towards them; on the actions taken to assure equal
provision of education, medical and other care and employment opportunities
for those persons living in the south-western region of the Republic
of Korea as compared to those living in the south-eastern region;
and on the provision of education and training to promote tolerance
and better understanding of the principles and provisions of human
235. The Committee also
expressed the wish to receive detailed information on the effectiveness
of legal remedies for those who suffered from discriminatory practices
and on specific cases where compensation had been provided to victims
of such discrimination.