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The Slightly Injured in Yeosu fire Are Entitled to Claim Against Government for Compensation 

The slightly injured in the Yeosu fire in 2007 became entitled to receive compensation from the Korean government. According to Gonggam, a public lawyers' group, on February 27, the fire accident in the Yeosu Probation office caused 10 deaths and many seriously and slightly injured people. Even though it was fire in a government-running facility, there was no swift rescue process taken place for the detained people. Therefore, it is clearly professional negligence.
In addition, related officers were punished for criminal action, which proves its illegality. In this context, the slightly injured people became also entitled to claim against government for compensation.
Director Ahn Hyeon-suk of Migrant Women Counseling Office said, "Some of the slightly injured must receive proper medical treatment for the aftermath of accident, however, they have not received any compensation yet. In case of A, he was seriously injured. However he was classified into the slightly injured and has suffer from the aftermath."
After the fire, the government classified victims into dead, seriously injured and slightly injured. The dead and the seriously injured were received governmental compensation and medical treatment payment. However, the slightly injured have not received any compensation.
In fact, since the government was partly responsible for the Yeosu fire, it is insisted that the government should compensate the slightly injured too. "Especially, unlikely the seriously injured, the slightly injured did not sign any MoU on compensation with the Ministry of Justice, they are entitled to claim the Korean government for compensation including treatment for the aftermath. If they authorize a lawyer to claim the government for compensation, this case can be instituted a suit at any time", a person of Gonggam added.
Migrants in Korea  February 26, 2009

Asia Human Rights Forum Acknowledged MWs' Contributions

Dr. Homayoun Alizadeh, OHCHR regional representative for Southeast Asia said in his keynote speech in the 4th Asia Human Rights Forum taken place in Korea University on February 17, "Migrant workers not only contribute to a nation's economic development through their skills and labor but also enrich a nation's culture and society. To make migrant workers affect the Korean society more positively, a policy of protecting human rights should be put on priority." 
The forum was held under the theme of Migrant Workers' Contributions and Local Perceptions in Asia and was co-organized by the Asian Center for Human Rights, UN OHCHR, International Labor Organization Southeast Region, Korea University, and Hwajeong Peach Foundation of Donga Ilbo. 
Dr. Alizadeh commented in the forum, "If migrant workers are considered as low-wage labor only without protecting their human rights, they can threaten labor market by causing a conflict with local community. Therefore, a monitoring system for their comprehensive living conditions and life style should be introduced."
Prof. Yoon In-jin of Korea University said in his presentation on Korean recognition and attitude toward migrant workers, "Most of Korean are not much interested in migrant workers' affairs." His presentation was based on an interviewing survey which was conducted by 2,100 people over 20 last December: 26.3 percent said "interested"; 73.7 percent answered "not interested (39.4%) or "so-so" (34.3%). Respondents showed that they were highly attached to or prefer migrant workers from advanced countries (2.88%), the physically challenged (2.73%), migrant workers from developing countries (2.66%), internationally married women spouses (2.64%), and North Korean who became citizens (2.58%).
Yonhap News  February 18, 2009

Disappeared Employment Insurance Allowance of MWs

Some of employers deducted a certain amount of money from migrant workers' payment. However, in fact they did not apply for unemployment insurance, migrant workers' related groups are considering to file a suit against them.
According to Gyeongnam Migrant Workers Counselling Office on March 2, as a result of receiving unemployment allowance applications from migrant workers from February 2 to 28, 34 migrant workers submitted their applications. Among them ten workers were eligible to receive unemployment allowance since unemployment insurance was deducted monthly from his pay sheet. However, the Ministry of Labor confirmed that none of them were applied to unemployment insurance at all.
Unemployment insurance paid by migrant workers was disappeared. A person of the Counselling office insisted, "Employers deducted insurance money from migrant workers' monthly payment, however, they did not apply for unemployment insurance. Owners stole their insurance money." "We are considering to file a suit against the employers", he added.
The Office received migrant workers who were dismissed along with 44 nationwide relevant groups from February 3 to 28, and planned to applied for migrant workers' unemployment allowance altogether in each regional employment support centers. Local workers should take out an unemployment insurance, however, in case of migrant workers, it is an option. Those who worked over 180 days of the last 18 months before retirement and were dismissed due to unavoidable reasons including advice to resign or contract expiration are entitled to apply for unemployment allowance through regional employment support center.
Yonhap News  March 2, 2009