NHRCK holds an ‘International Symposium for improving
the Migrants Detention System’
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea(Chairperson Doohwan Song, hereinafter the ‘Commission’ or the ‘NHRCK’) held an ‘International Symposium for improving the Migrants Detention System’(hereinafter the ‘Symposium’) on 14 September.
Although the detention system for migrants in Korea went through numerous changes for the better, it is still receiving criticism from the international community and civil society organizations as some details in the system are lacking. The system was criticized for not setting the maximum period of time for detaining people in an immigration protection facility and the measures to prevent and respond to human rights violation during the detention process. It also lacked the measures to care for the vulnerable group.
(the maximum period of time for detention not stated) Even the people who can’t be repatriated in a few days, including asylum-seekers in a review process and those who are in a trial in Korea, have to stay in an immigration protection center for a long time, as there is no limit in the duration of stay set by laws.
(the response measures for the case of human rights violation during the detention process) It is not easy for a foreigner in a detention center to raise issue or file in complaints on the human rights violation experienced during his or her stay in a detention center or repatriation process.
(lack of consideration for the vulnerable groups) The overall operation of detention centers is an issue that many are concerned about, as some of the detainees are unable to receive the care they need. There were cases where underage migrants were detained at a center with no adequate protection measures and a HIV-positive detainee had to stay at a protection center for over 9 months with little to no assistance to maintain health.
The Symposium was held to make improvements on these pending issues related to detaining migrants, explore exemplary practices abroad and raise awareness on improving the system of migrants detention.
The first session of the Symposium was on the ‘process of detaining migrants and the maximum period of sojourn’. During the session, Sejin Kim of Advocates for Public Interest Law presented the ‘current status of the migrant detention system in Korea’, Christoph König and Dr. Bianca Sukrow of Refugee Law Clinics talked about ‘German system of migrant detention – from the beginning and the extension of detention’ and Liao Xinyi of Taiwan Association for Human Rights made presentation on ‘detaining migrants in Taiwan – after the Taiwanese Constitutional Court ruling’.
The second session was about ‘limiting the detention of migrants and exemplary measures’. Jin Kim of Duroo made presentation on the ‘vulnerable groups and migrant detention system in Korea’, Marta Gionco of the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants(PICUM) on ‘limiting detention period for the vulnerable group’ and Min Yamada Park of International Detention Coalition(IDC) on the ‘international standards and examples of good measures taken to improve detention system’. The discussion on ‘protecting people belonging to vulnerable groups and improving legal measures’ followed after the two sessions.
Based on the insights shared at the Symposium, the Commission is planning on finding appropriate measures to protect the rights of the migrants in Korea.