COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 9
OF THE CONVENTION
observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
1. The Committee
considered the ninth and tenth periodic reports of the Republic of Korea,
submitted in one document (CERD/C/333/Add.1), at its 1307th and 1308th
meetings, held on 2 and 3 March 1999 (CERD/C/SR.1307-1308), and adopted,
at its 1329th meeting (CERD/C/SR.1329), held on 17 March 1999, the following
2. The Committee
welcomes the report of the Republic of Korea and expresses its appreciation
for the regularity with which the State party submits its reports. It
takes note of the detailed supplementary information provided by the
delegation in the oral dialogue with the Committee. Nevertheless, the
Committee is of the view that the information submitted regarding the
follow-up of recommendations made by it during the consideration of
the previous report of the State party was incomplete. The Committee
commends the quality of the delegation's oral replies to the questions
raised during the discussion.
3. The commitment
by the State party to adopt a Human Rights Act and establish a national
human rights institution before the end of the year 1999 is welcomed.
4. It is noted with satisfaction that the State party ratified, on 4
December 1998, International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention (No.
111) concerning discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
measures taken by the State party to prevent and combat racial discrimination
are welcomed. These measures include the State party's decision to apply
the Labour Standard Act to all illegal foreign workers as of October
1998; the amendment to the Foreign Land Acquisition Act on 15 May 1998
and the amendment to the Nationality Act on 13 December 1997.
6. It is noted
with interest that, according to the information provided in the report
of the State party, the provisions of the Convention take precedence
over any conflicting national law.
7. The wide
range of dissemination and training activities undertaken by the authorities
in the field of human rights, including activities to prevent and combat
racial discrimination, are welcomed.
8. The declaration
made by the Republic of Korea under article 14, paragraph 1, of the
Convention, recognizing the competence of the Committee to receive and
consider communications from individuals or groups, is welcomed, as
well as the State party's ratification of the amendment to article 8,
paragraph 6, of the Convention.
C. Principal subjects of concern
9. While acknowledging
that the envisioned Human Rights Act is intended to contain provisions
covering all legal obligations set out in articles 2 and 4 of the Convention,
the Committee remains concerned that neither the Constitution nor any
law of the State party explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis
of race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin, and that no
law contains provisions explicitly penalizing acts of racial discrimination
or prohibiting organizations which promote and incite racial discrimination.
10. The absence
of information in the State party's report regarding acts of racial
discrimination as well as on action to prevent racial segregation in
the light of General Recommendation XIX is regarded as a shortcoming.
11. The Committee
notes that information provided with regard to article 5 of the Convention
covered only labour-related rights. As a result, the Committee has been
unable to form an opinion on the actual situation regarding the equal
enjoyment by all persons of the other rights set forth in article 5
of the Convention.
12. The Committee
is concerned at the vulnerable situation of foreigners with irregular
status who live and work in the country, usually under difficult and
precarious conditions. Such persons are victims of discrimination, in
violation of article 5 of the Convention, notably paragraphs 5 (d) and
13. While acknowledging
the efforts undertaken by the State party to improve the status of foreigners,
concern is expressed about discrimination against people of foreign
origin who were born and have settled in the Republic of Korea. De facto
discrimination against Amerasian children and against Korean women married
to asylum seekers is also of concern.
D. Suggestions and recommendations
14. The Committee
recommends that the State party take all appropriate legislative measures
to ensure that articles 2 and 4 of the Convention are fully reflected
in domestic law. In this regard, it suggests that the Human Rights Act
that is to be enacted before the end of 1999 explicitly prohibit discrimination
on the basis of race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin,
declare such acts illegal and penalize them, as prescribed in article
4 of the Convention. Additionally, the Committee requests that the State
party submit, together with its next periodic report, the full texts
of all new legislation adopted to prevent and combat discrimination.
15. The Committee
recommends that the next report of the State party should include information
on legislative and practical measures taken by the authorities to ensure
respect for the provisions of article 5 of the Convention.
16. While acknowledging
the fact that the State party has recently taken measures to improve
the status of foreign "industrial trainees" and other foreigners working
in the country, the Committee suggests that the Government of the Republic
of Korea take further measures against discrimination in the labour
conditions of foreign workers. The Committee also recommends that measures
be taken to improve the situation of all migrant workers, particularly
those with irregular status.
17. The Committee
recommends that further measures be taken to ensure that persons of
foreign origin who were born or have settled in the Republic of Korea
are not subject to discrimination based on ethnic origin. The Committee
recommends that the State party take all appropriate measures, including
awareness-raising campaigns, to protect women married to asylum seekers
and children of mixed marriages, particularly Amerasian children, from
racial discrimination or racial prejudice.
that no cases of racial discrimination have reached the courts or administrative
bodies, the Committee recommends to the State party to increase its
efforts to provide easy access to existing recourse mechanisms dealing
with relevant provisions of the Convention, including the procedure
set out in its article 14.
19. The Committee
recommends that the State party provide legal aid to victims of acts
of racial discrimination and facilitate access to recourse procedures
by vulnerable groups.
20. The Committee
suggests that the State party allocate more resources to facilitate
dissemination, education and training in order to promote the principles
and objectives of the Convention. In this regard, it recommends that
the State party take appropriate steps to widely disseminate its report,
along with the present concluding observations of the Committee, in
the Republic of Korea.
21. The Committee
recommends that the next periodic report of the State party be an updating
report dealing with the suggestions and recommendations of the present