Do Human Rights Need to Die for National Interest to Survive?

Do human rights need to die for national interest to survive?

Hyunmo Choi (Director of the Center for Migrant Workers’ Human Rights in Korea)
One case… If you look hateful, it will end!
H and C from Vietnam are migrant workers who have not yet arrived in Korea for a year. The two are ordinary young men with a dream of earning money as soon as possible and returning to their hometown of Vietnam to have a happy family with their loved ones. However, these two people became ‘labor fighters’ who had incited their co-workers to collectively refuse work a few days ago against the unfair treatment of the employer.
The story went like this. Compared to the working hours of the contract that the company originally drafted, they worked for more than an hour, leaving them several days away. They also had night work on Saturdays and Sundays, so they didn’t even have a proper day off. I asked him not to make unreasonable overtime demands, unilateral overtime, and holiday assignments several times, but he didn’t listen in situations where he couldn’t communicate properly, and other Vietnamese people said that if he didn’t do what he was told, he might be at a disadvantage. I had to be patient every time. The company did not make such unreasonable demands from the Korean people. Even on the Saturday in question, I originally knew that I was working until 7 pm, but the company abruptly instructed me to extend the work by an hour. When six unbearable Vietnamese workers left work, the company unilaterally dismissed them and asked the Ministry of Labor and Immigration for departure measures, accusing them of causing damage to the company by accusing them of ‘collective refusal of work without a reasonable reason’. .
In the current Employment Permit System, all authority regarding the legal status of migrant workers rests with the employer, so it is difficult to imagine that migrant workers will challenge that authority. The employer could not tolerate migrant workers who dared to disobey their instructions. Embarrassed by the unilateral action, H and C went to the Employment Support Center of the Ministry of Labor and asked for help by requesting a job change. However, without an interpreter, an employee of the Ministry of Labor heard only the one-sided words of the business owner over the phone and said to the two, “We need to leave the country as soon as possible because they are garbage that causes damage and moves from company to company for all kinds of reasons.” It is as if a strong spokesperson for the employer is working for the Ministry of Labor. Surprised by the attitude of the Ministry of Labor staff, H and C visited the Migrant Workers’ Human Rights Center through a Vietnamese person they met in Korea. It was only through the activists here that they could barely accuse the employer of unfair labor practices, and after receiving an apology from an employee of the Ministry of Labor, they were able to move the workplace and not become an ‘illegal resident’.
two cases… Three chances, don’t do anything you’ll regret! 
L from Sri Lanka has been in Korea for over two years. Now that he speaks Korean quite well and is used to work a lot, he has fully fulfilled his role in the lumber factory where he works. He is in charge of the paint job, which is avoided by Koreans as well as foreigners because of the strong odor and dust. Even if he is despised by business owners and Korean colleagues for harsh language, he has been patiently working hard even if he often pays only Koreans because the company’s circumstances are difficult.
However, even after two years have passed, the salary has not changed at all from the first time to now. It is much lower than the salary of a Korean colleague doing the same job, and even the last two months’ salary has been arrears, so he is unable to send money to his hometown. Then, I got up the courage to talk about the salary that was pushed back by the employer, but I only ate a curse that was difficult to put into words. I was so heartbroken that I drank alcohol and did not leave the company for two days. Then, when I went back to work, the employer told me that I did not need it and told me to leave. I prayed that I was wrong, but to no avail. The employer had already reported to the Ministry of Labor and Immigration for refusal of orders and trespassing.
But what’s even more frustrating is that L has already used up all three opportunities to move from one workplace to another under the Employment Permit System, so he can’t move any more. The company went bankrupt within two months of coming in and starting work, and the next company was assaulted by a Korean colleague within a week and had no choice but to move. The last one was that the work did not fit well, so they agreed with the business owner to move the company, and they had already used up the three transfer opportunities. In order to make one additional movement that is recognized as an exception, the reason for the previous three movements must not be attributable to the person, but in the case of L, it is impossible because the third movement is treated as attributable to the person.
L knew that there was no opportunity for him, so he worked harder at the last factory he moved to. However, as he was unilaterally dismissed by the employer overnight, he was no longer able to stay in Korea. L, who is barely paying off his debts now, will have to work for the rest of the year to earn even a little bit of money. .
Migrant Workers Policy to Institutionalize Discrimination As of
2007, there are about 1 million migrants living in Korean society. Among them, about 450,000 are migrant workers who are working in the commonly referred to as 3D industry. Discrimination against them in Korean society, as is well known, is pervasive throughout society, stained with all kinds of human rights violations and labor exploitation. In the Western history, the vulgar capitalism of material omnipotence and social contempt due to the prevalence of distorted nationalism such as mono-ethnicism and pure-bloodism, as well as institutional discrimination for the purpose of maintaining the national economy through the use of cheap labor imported from abroad, have a synergistic effect. and has encouraged discrimination against migrant workers.
Starting with the overseas-invested corporation trainee system introduced in 1991, from 1994 to 2006, despite the urgent domestic need to ‘resolve the manpower shortage of small and medium-sized enterprises’, migrant workers were introduced in the name of trainees, denying the labor nature of migrant workers. Needless to say, the industrial trainee system, a ‘modern version of slavery’ that has gained notoriety for its oppression and exploitation. The Employment Permit System, which was legislated in 2003 and implemented in earnest in 2004, also has no intention of improving the laxity of the migrant labor policy caused by the harmful effects of the industrial training system and guaranteeing equal rights to migrant workers, but now it is ‘another slave system’. is being criticized for The biggest toxin clause of the Employment Permit System, ‘prohibition in principle of workplace movement’, acts as ‘prohibition in principle for guaranteeing labor rights of migrant workers’. Various kinds of unfair and discriminatory treatment in the workplace, constant insults, and contempt are not recognized as reasons for movement. If you can’t stand it, you can go out, but this is trespassing, and you will immediately become unregistered, subject to harsh crackdowns and deportation, and you will have to move around the blind spots of even worse human rights. The law guaranteeing the rights of migrant workers justifies discrimination against migrant workers. In short, the migrant labor policy of Korea in the past 16 years has been centered on the institutional justification of discrimination.
The institutionalization of discrimination does not stop there. Arbitrary detention without a warrant, crackdown on trespassing without a warrant, which is carried out regardless of time and place, and the Immigration Control Act used as a basis for detaining a person indefinitely without a trial and forcibly deporting them without a trial due to poor treatment than a criminal. Migrant workers and migrants, such as the visiting employment system that grants preferential work permits and status of stay only to Koreans, and the Framework Act on the Treatment of Foreigners in Korea, which treats all migrants, including migrant workers, as objects of assimilation and management rather than as subjects of living together. The institutional justification of discrimination against
There is no ‘natural human rights’ The
Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms the equal rights of all people (Article 1) and states that no discrimination is recognized in the enjoyment of those rights (Article 2). December 10th was the 59th anniversary of the adoption and promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Countries around the world hold various events to commemorate this day and promise to guarantee the international guarantee of human rights granted to all human beings. However, the memories that have been confirmed and engraved over the past 59 years are that this is just a declaration, and that promise is just the speeches of some famous people who participated in the commemoration ceremony. There is no ‘equal human rights for all’ promised by the Declaration in any country in the world where annual commemorative events are held. Sadly, it’s true. Reaffirmation of this fact is also underway in Korea.
In the concrete legislative process of the anti-discrimination bill, which had been prepared for over four years, the purpose of the bill was overshadowed. Corrective orders, imposition of compulsory enforcement fees, and punitive damages were excluded from the notice of the Ministry of Justice legislative notice to substantiate the anti-discrimination recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, raising doubts about the effectiveness of the law. Even the 7 reasons of ‘country of origin, language, sexual orientation, family type and family situation, educational background, medical history, criminal and protective disposition history’ have been deleted. Then, on December 4th, despite serious concerns and problems raised by human rights and civil society organizations across the country, it was decided at a cabinet meeting presided over by President Roh Moo-hyun and confirmed as a government bill.
The government explained the purpose of the enactment of this law as “a basic law on human rights to prohibit and prevent discrimination without reasonable grounds and to relieve the damage.” Yes. This is the basis for justifying the institutionalization of discrimination against migrant workers. That’s the ‘reasonable reason’. So far, the government has said this ‘reasonable reason’ as follows. “Removal of factors confounding the domestic labor market such as wage increase and encroachment on jobs for locals, recognition of productivity differences due to lack of language and technical proficiency, prevention of tyranny in areas densely populated by foreigners, national security, etc.” To put it in more grandiose terms, it is ‘the national interest first’.
In this context, it must have been a natural conclusion that the government removed the items of ‘country of origin, language, etc.’ from the subject of anti-discrimination when finalizing the anti-discrimination bill. This is because the government, which has established the legalization of discrimination based on the ‘reasonable reason’ of ‘the national interest first’ against migrant workers and migrants, that is, people who are distinguished by their nationality and language, as a policy basis, will not be able to enact a new law that may shake it from the ground up. is because it is empty.
With the total number of migrants exceeding 1 million and an influx of more migrants is predicted in the future, the government, led by the Ministry of Justice, has been talking about future alternatives in the age of the world’s lowest fertility and aging population, ‘multicultural society’, ‘multi-ethnic society’, and ‘multicultural society’, ‘multi-ethnic society’ It is misleading as if it is taking the lead in creating a society without discrimination where we live together. However, there is no consideration for the improvement of the current system, which presupposes thorough discrimination and exclusion of migrants including migrant workers. Rather, even the anti-discrimination bill, which was proposed as the basic law of human rights, made clear its intention to ignore the human rights of migrants. At this rate, the human rights of migrants have no place in this land. Multicultural and social integration, which ignores the reality stained with discrimination and exploitation with the logic of national interest closely adhered to nationalism, is just a fiction and is merely a tactic to cover up the contradictions of reality.
Human rights are a product of struggle
The enactment of a comprehensive anti-discrimination law is, in some ways, a result of the efforts of the human rights movement. However, in the dynamics surrounding the enactment of the law, the movement cannot help but realize that it was insufficient to form a social agenda through the gathering of its own power and widespread public discussion. It is time to put all our efforts into bringing together the abolition or improvement movement of various discrimination laws under the name of the ‘anti-discrimination human rights movement’ and spreading it as a whole social movement.
On December 5, 2007, 20 labor human rights activists, including 10 migrant workers, stopped the anti-human rights enforcement action against deportation and relocated against the government’s policy of entrapment of migrant workers in a more coercive manner with the logic of ‘national interest’ at the fore. They began a sit-down demanding an end to the suppression of the labor movement and an attempt to revise the Immigration Control Act. The demands of migrant workers are always one. “We are human too. I want to live like a human being.”
There is no such thing as ‘human rights’. Human rights are a product of struggle

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.