Bills seek better definition of rape(The Korea Times)

“United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) called on Seoul to revise the definition of rape.”

“However, society should start talks to define the meaning of yes and no. Koreans have never discussed what mutual consent in a sexual relationship is, which has led to many violent situations between partners,”

#sexual_violence  #rape_definition #women_trafficking_culture #Korea

Original Article from:  https://goo.gl/Rkvrcm


 

Protesters take part in a street parade in central Seoul, March 8, on the occasion of International Women’s Day. / Yonhap

By Choi Ha-young

Following a series of #MeToo claims here, politicians are competitively creating bills aimed at preventing sexual crimes and strengthening criminal punishment for assailants. Among them, some to feature revising the definition of rape in existing criminal law that rape should involve “violence or intimidation.”

Based on the definition, local courts have acquitted some alleged rapists citing a lack of violence. To prove that the violence or intimidation made the victim unable to resist, victims were required to attempt to resist to the bitter end ― which could put their lives at stake.

Last month, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) called on Seoul to revise the definition of rape. “Amend article 297 of the Criminal Code so as to place the lack of free consent of the victim at the centre of the definition,” a report published by CEDAW reads.

The most powerful bill that echoes the point is the one created by Rep. Kang Chang-il of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea. Rep. Kang’s bill replaced “violence and intimidation” with “without clear consent of counterpart.”

“So far, whether the victim protested against the assailant or not has been the center of the allegation, which has caused secondary damage for the victims,” the lawmaker said in the revision bill.

Conservative lawmakers also joined the move.

Rep. Lee Hag-jae of the minor center-right Bareun Mirae Party is drawing up a similar bill. Instead of using the term “rape and sexual molestation,” the bill proposed using “invasion of rights to self-determination over sexuality.” The envisioned change aims to highlight individuals’ rights to make independent choices.

Rep. Lee also offered to revise the definition of rape ― “having sexual relations with another without consent.”

Another bill submitted by Rep. Hong Chul-ho of the Liberty Korea Party defined rape as a sexual relation that involves “violation or intimidation” or actions “against someone’s will.”

These bills are commonly based on the idea of “yes means yes, no means no” as do laws in Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom.

According to the report published by the National Assembly Research Service, Germany previously required “violation and intimidation” as a legal condition of rape. After the revision was made in November 2016, Germany defines rape as a “sexual relation against victims’ expression.” Sweden is also pushing for revision bills to stipulate “without consent” instead of “violation and intimidation,” the report reads.

The tricky issue is “what does yes mean?” In Korea, where the influence of Confucianism remains dominant, women are required to stay “pure and chaste,” said Hongik University Law Professor Spiritas Cho.

Such cultural inclinations are palpable in love scenes in K-dramas. When they fall in love, men are supposed to lead the relationships ― sometimes using force ― while women are reluctant to be courted. Female characters who initially refused to kiss male characters end up agreeing. This is not a matter of gender, considering many screenwriters of such dramas are women.

In this respect, Cho said the revision of the laws should accompany a fundamental shift in our approach to sexuality. “Women must be able to express their sexuality and their sexual desires freely and clearly, not to be ostracized for that socially and culturally,” Cho said.

Still, negative comments are flooding online communities regarding the bid to revise the criminal law. When Minister of Gender Equality and Family Chung Hyun-back indicated her agreement with such a revision, some netizens sarcastically commented: “Now couples should exchange written contracts.”

Lee Mi-kyeong, director of Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center, who provided advice in designing Kang’s bill, admitted the envisioned changes would bring some confusion for a while.

“However, society should start talks to define the meaning of yes and no. Koreans have never discussed what mutual consent in a sexual relationship is, which has led to many violent situations between partners,” Lee said.

“It’s time to reflect on our attitudes and make efforts to respect each other,” she noted.

South Korean companies’ treatment of workforce in ASEAN countries raising concerns (Hankyoreh)

“In ASEAN countries, South Korean companies disregard health and safety regulations and churn out unstable jobs on short contracts or through illegal temp agencies. When workers take collective action or attempt to set up a union, these companies threaten them with termination or with various criminal charges,”

#SouthKoreanCompanies #labor_oppression #labor_right #노동탄압도_수출품목

Original Article from: http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/838530.html


Labor groups want the Moon administration to consider workers rights as part of the New Southern Policy

After South Korean President Moon Jae-in declared that he would create a close trading and investment relationship with the countries of ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) through his New Southern Policy, concerns are being raised about South Korean companies violating workers’ rights in ASEAN countries.

On Mar. 29, South Korea’s two national trade unions (the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions and Federation of Korean Trade Unions), the South Korean offices of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation held a press conference at the Francisco Building in downtown Seoul to call on the Moon administration to consider human rights issues in its New Southern Policy and to institute laws and policies that ensure that South Korean companies moving into ASEAN countries guarantee human rights and labor rights.
According to the information made public during the press conference, a large number of ASEAN workers who are working for South Korean companies face long working hours, late pay and unfair termination, but these companies’ unscrupulous labor practices make it difficult to organize a union. “In ASEAN countries, South Korean companies disregard health and safety regulations and churn out unstable jobs on short contracts or through illegal temp agencies. When workers take collective action or attempt to set up a union, these companies threaten them with termination or with various criminal charges,” said Monina Wong, who handles basic labor rights for the ITUC.
According to the groups at the press conference, South Korean companies that notice any signs of a union being established try to “nip it in the bud.” “Early this year, South Korean clothing company Gawon Apparel had not paid wages or given the union the money withheld from workers’ wages as dues for two months. When the workers went on strike because of this, all 588 of them were let go,” said Pret So Uot, an attorney with the Cambodian Labour Confederation. Similarly, when workers for a South Korean sock company with a factory in Myanmar asked the company to negotiate about guaranteeing their labor rights last March, all 76 of them were fired.
Among various South Korean companies, Samsung Electronics is notorious for sticking to its “no union” policy in ASEAN countries. “When 13 employees attempted to set up a labor union at a Samsung Electronics television factory in Indonesia in 2012, the company immediately fired all of them and even sent people to their houses to intimidate them. And later when workers at a Samsung subcontractor tried to organize a union, the Samsung headquarters in South Korea notified all the company’s subcontractors in Indonesia that they would lose their contracts if they created unions,” said Prihanani Boenadi, vice president of the International Department for the Confederation of Indonesian Workers’ Unions.
Workers rights’ violations increase in tandem with South Korean investment
These examples of workers’ rights violations appear to be increasing as South Korea steps up investment in ASEAN countries. “South Korea has an overwhelming lead among when it comes to the number of strikes that have occurred over the past five years at foreign companies operating in Vietnam,” said Kim Tituha, who is in charge of labor rights at the Center for Development and Integration, a non-profit organization in Vietnam.
Others point out that South Korean companies exploit the fact that the rule of law is not functioning properly and that basic labor rights are not adequately guaranteed in ASEAN countries. “Even when Myanmar’s labor board and arbitration committee ruled that a firing was unfair and order the company in question to reinstate the workers, it’s useless. The company can get off the hook by paying a fine of about US$700,” said Khaing Zar Aung, assistant general secretary for the Industrial Workers Federation of Myanmar. The conclusion reached by ASEAN labor activists is that ASEAN countries are reluctant to impose legal sanctions on scofflaw South Korean companies because those countries need South Korean investment.
The only place to which ASEAN residents working for South Korean companies can turn is the OECD National Contact Point (NCP). The NCPs, which have been set up in various countries according to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are supposed to deal with conflicts involving multinational enterprises by making recommendations and mediating and arbitrating complaints. The OECD enacted the NCPs in 1976 to prevent multinational enterprises from committing human rights violations. Since the South Korean NCP was established in 2000, however, only 31 cases have been officially referred to it, and not one of those has been resolved.
“Procedural transparency needs to be enhanced by adding members of labor unions and civic groups to the committee of South Korea’s NCP, which is under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy,” advised Joanna Coronacion, an activist for SENTRO.
While companies operating overseas cannot be sanctioned under South Korean law, this does not mean that nothing can be done. “We need to set up a national action plan for companies and human rights as the UN has already recommended. Institutional changes also need to be made to cut off various kinds of support – including national pension, loans and subsidies – for companies that are implicated in harming the environment or committing human rights violations,” said Jung Shin-yeong, a lawyer with Advocates for Public Interest Law (APIL).
By Lee Ji-hye, staff reporter

South Korea scores symbolic victories in negotiations over KORUS FTA(Hankyoreh)

What does US’s victory about pharmaceutical pricing system mean to Korean people and healthcare system?

Does idea of “free-trade” more important than efficient purchasing of single-payer system to assure medicine access to all?

 

“Another major victory for the US is the agreement to hold additional negotiations to revise South Korea’s pharmaceutical pricing system for innovative medicine from around the world. American pharmaceutical firms have repeatedly complained that the price of medicine is set too low by South Korea’s national health insurance.”

 

#KORUS-FTA #pharmaceutical_pricing #newdrug #medicine #Free_Trade

 

Original Article from: https://goo.gl/BsPBKU

 


 

US receives concessions on automobile import restrictions and prescription drug pricing

South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong takes a drink of water during a briefing to discuss the results of the KORUS FTA revision agreements at the Central Government Complex in Seoul on Mar. 26. (by Baek So-ah, staff photographer)

While presenting results of the negotiations to revise the South Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) at the Central Government Complex in Seoul on Mar. 26, South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong said that South Korean negotiators had protected the nation’s interests. “We participated in the negotiations more with the aim of defending the national interest than of protecting the KORUS FTA. We gave ground where appropriate while securing our interests [in the agreement],” Kim told reporters.

 

South Korea had found itself at a disadvantage in the negotiations because of the major divide between the two countries from the outset of the negotiations, which was compounded by American tariffs on steel. Despite these circumstances, Kim said, the negotiators managed to protect the South Korean market as best they could.

 

As Kim said, balancing the two sides’ interests was not an easy proposition in the negotiations, which were launched because of the US’s unilateral demand for and objective of “resolving the trade imbalance.” But a close look at the final tally of the negotiations also suggests that South Korea won the symbolic victories, while the US pocketed the practical benefits. South Korea received assurances about securing import quotas for steel and institutional and procedural improvements for investor-state dispute settlements (ISDS) and trade remedies. The US, on the other hand, received concessions that will have an immediate effect, such as easing import restrictions on automobiles and improving the pricing system for new drugs.

 

South Korea is the first country exporting steel to the US to secure a steel import quota (70%, or 2.68 million tons, of average yearly exports between 2015 and 2017). While accepting some of the US’s demands about American automobiles and pharmaceuticals, South Korea basically managed to arrange the first deal on steel. But a senior official from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said, “We initially wanted to secure a tariff-rate quota that would give us a steel quota and allow us to export the volume above that the quota to the American market with a tariff of 25%, but that didn’t work out.” The volume of steel exports will fall to 70% of the volume of previous years, and no more exports will be allowed after the quota has been reached. “This resolved the instability and the unpredictability faced by exporting companies,” Kim said when asked about the swift settlement of the steel issue.

 

One view is that the pros and cons of the steel import quota, which is limited to 70% of the average imports over the past three years, must be compared with the alternative scenario in which the tariffs take effect.“The South Korean steel industry preferred the quotas to the tariffs. If the countries exempted from the tariffs and the exempted categories increase in the future, President Trump is likely to raise the tariffs higher than 25% in order to achieve his import reduction goals. In that situation, we would have been forced to quickly get off the list of countries facing thethe tariffs. We can only export 70% of the previous volume, but if the price of steel in the US rises because of the imposition of tariffs, the value of South Korean steel makers’ exports might actually increase,” a spokesperson for the Ministry said.

 

The decision to relax environmental and safety standards for automobiles that the US has repeatedly described as non-tariff barriers to trade came as no surprise. South Korea agreed to increase the number of American automobiles that can be imported even if they do not satisfy South Korean safety standards (about the color of turn signals, for example) as long as they satisfy American standards from the current level of 25,000 vehicles per company to 50,000 vehicles.“While we increased the number to 50,000, the actual number of vehicles imported each year by the US’s three big automakers is below 10,000, so [50,000] has no effect on the actual import volume,” Kim said. But others argue that South Korea gave major concessions on automobiles in order to reach an agreement on steel. When calculating South Korea’s costs, it is also necessary to include the government’s and various industries’ sharp increase in imports of American products and their expansion of investment in the US, which were aimed at highlighting the FTA’s benefits.

 

20 year extension on tariffs for Korean pickup trucks

 

Furthermore, the timeframe for repealing the 25% tariff on Korean pickup trucks was extended by 20 years, from 10 years after the KORUS FTA took effect (that is, 2021) until 2041. “At the moment, basically no pickup trucks are being exported to the US,” Kim noted.But in Kim’s book Talking about the KORUS-FTA, when he played up the importance of ending the tariff on pickups. “We aren’t currently manufacturing pickup trucks, but we will be in the future. The important thing is that [the US’s] high tariff of 25% on pickup trucks must be lowered so that we can attract investment,” he wrote. In effect, the extension of the timeframe greatly reduces the likelihood of South Korean companies breaking into the growing US pickup truck market.

 

Another major victory for the US is the agreement to hold additional negotiations to revise South Korea’s pharmaceutical pricing system for innovative medicine from around the world. American pharmaceutical firms have repeatedly complained that the price of medicine is set too low by South Korea’s national health insurance.

 

Among South Korea’s gains, one of the more notable is the improvement of the system for settling investor-state disputes. The two sides agreed to include in the revised agreement a provision to prevent investors who have invested capital in the other country from filing frivolous disputes and to ensure that the two governments’ due sovereignty over policy is not infringed.

 

There will also be the addition of a section to ensure procedural transparency, such as releasing documents from local anti-dumping investigations, when either side initiates trade remedies (that is, import restrictions). This measure is designed to provide a way of dodging or blunting trade pressure from the US. But Kim said, “The results of the negotiations do not allow us to say categorically that the US trade risk has markedly decreased, and trade pressure is likely to continue for the rest of Trump’s time in office.”

 

The specifics of the revisions of the ISDS and trade remedy systems will be made public when the revised agreement is officially signed, following additional deliberations with the US.

By Cho Kye-wan, staff reporter

Humiliated’ nurses forced to perform erotic dance for top officials by South Korea hospital (International Business times)

The issue of the working condition of Korean health workers, especially the nurses, continues to be revealed. Following last month’s unveiling of nurses who were illegally paid wages below the minimum wage in their early employment, some hospitals have recently been found to be treating their workers insultingly. The suffering of nurses’ working condition in Korea seems to be arising from Korea’s harsh labor culture, the authoritarian hierarchy of the medical organization and widespread sexualization of women.

#health_worker #nurses #working_condition #stop_sexualize #Korea


  • South Korean nurses allegedly forced to dance in front of high-ranking officials.

  • Korean Nurses Association calls for investigation into Sacred Heart Hospital of Hallym University.

south Korea nurses
Nurses complained of feeling ‘humiliated’ after performing onstage Screengrab/YTN

 

A South Korean hospital is under investigation for allegedly making its nurses perform a “seductive” dance in front of high-ranking officials at a formal event.

Video footage emerged showing groups of woman in skimpy outfits on stage, sparking outrage after it was widely shared online.

Nurses at the Sacred Heart Hospital of Hallym University claim they were forced to take part in the erotic dance in front of more than 1,000 co-workers and hospital officials during an annual sports competition in October.

The footage was uploaded by a whistleblower onto Facebook, who also suggested it is not the first time this has happened.

According to Korea Times, the nurse wrote: “Those forced to dance are usually the newly hired nurses, who are unable to refuse such orders. We are forced to dance in front of high-ranking officials of the firm who sit side-by-side at a long table.

Other nurses have also come forward on social media to claim they were encouraged to make sexually suggestive faces while performing the dance.

“During practice, managers at the Nursing Department would give instructions on making seductive gestures and facial expressions,” one nurse wrote.

Another added: “Some nurses even cried to express their extreme humiliation, but officials would always brush this off, saying they are making a big deal out of something everyone does.

“It is devastating to hear the hospital officials claimed they did not know about the situation after this finally got out.”

South Korea nurses
Footage of the South Korea nurses dancing was uploaded to Facebook Screengrab YTN

The Korean Nurses Association has called for an investigation into what the allegations surrounding Hallym University’s Sacred Heart Hospital.

It said in a statement: “This is a grave challenge to the vocation and self-esteem of nurses.

“There are numerous nurses who endure an intense workload, low paycheck and frequent overtime with their sense of duty and vocation. Considering this, the scandal was defamatory and offensive to these nurses.”

The Ministry of Employment and Labor confirmed an inquiry in under way.

A spokesperson told the Korea Times: “If we find legal problems, we will summon the hospital officials responsible.”

Seventy percent of part-time workers complain of work-related illnesses (Koreaherald)

#exhaution #work_related_illness #Albamon #Korea

“… a jobs portal, polled 2,054 part-time employees from Nov. 1-3 and found that 72 percent had complaints about various physical conditions due to their work. ”

 

Original Article from : http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20171106000283&ACE_SEARCH=1


Seven out of 10 part-time workers said they are suffering from job-related illnesses, mostly chronic exhaustion, in a survey released Monday.

Albamon, a jobs portal, polled 2,054 part-time employees from Nov. 1-3 and found that 72 percent had complaints about various physical conditions due to their work. Health problems were reported by 74.5 percent of those employed in the services industry, followed by 72.3 percent in sales, 69.9 percent in production and physical labor, and 61.6 percent in administrative work, IT and design.

(Yonhap)

Chronic exhaustion was cited by 58.2 percent of those polled, where multiple answers were allowed. Another 48.5 percent complained of swollen legs from having to work standing up all day.

Thirty-nine percent said they had symptoms of arthritis or muscle pain, 28.1 percent said they had indigestion, and 26.6 percent had pains in the wrists or shoulders. Another 15.2 percent complained of migraine headaches and 13.4 percent had trouble sleeping. (Yonhap)

Semiconductor workers’ seek acknowledgement of industrial accident status

#Banollim #Industrial_Accident #Samsung #worker’s_health

“In August, the Supreme Court sided with the plaintiff in a case filed by a former Samsung Electronics worker demanding industrial accident acknowledgment for their multiple sclerosis. Citing the principle of “relieving the burden of proof,” the court overturned an earlier court decision to dismiss the case on the grounds that the correlation between the worker’s duties and the illness was inadequately proven.”

Original Article from : http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/817039.html

 


The semiconductor worker health and human rights watchdog group Banollim holds a press conference on Oct. 31 at the southern Seoul branch of the Korea Workers‘ Compensation and Welfare Service (K-Comwel) to urge the agency to “quickly acknowledge industrial accident status for workers suffering occupational diseases in the electronics industry.” (provided by Banollim)

Employees in the industry became sick with a variety of illness including leukemia and multiple sclerosis

Seven people who contracted leukemia, lymphoma, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions during or after working for South Korean semiconductor manufacturers, including Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, applied for acknowledgment of industrial accident status on Oct. 31.

The semiconductor worker health and human rights watchdog group Banollim held a press conference the same day at the southern Seoul branch of the Korea Workers’ Compensation and Welfare Service (K-Comwel) to urge the agency to “quickly acknowledge industrial accident status for workers suffering occupational diseases in the electronics industry.”

Banollim’s request for acknowledgment was the 13th since the group began filing collective requests for leukemia cases at Samsung Electronics employees in Apr. 2008. As of Oct. 31, the group had applied for collective industrial accident acknowledgment for 94 people, but only 22 received it. Of the 393 semiconductor-related occupational disease sufferers reported to Banollim over the past ten years, 144 have already passed away.

In the past, K-Comwel has been reluctant to grant industrial accident acknowledgment, citing a lack of evidence of exposure to carcinogens or clear medical causes for the conditions – effectively placing the burden of proof on the victims. In contrast, Banollim has demanded that industrial accident acknowledgment standards be immediately revised in line with a recent Supreme Court decision, and insisted that acknowledgment be granted in cases of repeated instances of occupational diseases without a long investigation and review process.

In August, the Supreme Court sided with the plaintiff in a case filed by a former Samsung Electronics worker demanding industrial accident acknowledgment for their multiple sclerosis. Citing the principle of “relieving the burden of proof,” the court overturned an earlier court decision to dismiss the case on the grounds that the correlation between the worker’s duties and the illness was inadequately proven. Attention is now turning to the administration as it weighs a changing in policy amid recent court decisions taking a more stance on industrial accident acknowledgment.

 

By Cho Il-jun, staff reporter

Corruption in the Recruitment Process of Public Institutions While Actual Unemployment Rate Experienced by the Young Peaks (Kyunghyang editorial)

#empoyment #corruption  #SDH #Korea

Original Article from :
http://english.khan.co.kr/khan_art_view.html?code=710100&artid=201710191723307&medid=enkh#csidx472c4dd46b0f36ca144217cb68c0ebb 


The employment rate of people in their twenties continues to fall for the sixth month since April. During that same period, there was no other age group that recorded a negative employment rate. While the employment rate of young people dropped, the unemployment rate in the same age group continued to climb to rates of 9-10%.

According to the September employment trend released by Statistics Korea on October 18, the unemployment rate of young people aged 15-29 dropped 0.2% from a year ago to 9.2%. When we look at the people just in their twenties, the rate is 9.4%. After the unemployment rate of the people in their twenties recorded 8.5% in January this year, it has remained in the 9% level for eight months. When we include the number of people who have given up looking for employment and who are preparing to enter the job market, the actual unemployment rate experienced by the young people climbs to 21.5%, a 0.2% increase from the same period last year. This is the highest level for September since 2015 when related statistics were collected. We are witnessing a situation in which one in every five young people continue to remain unemployed. The situation is the same with the employment rate. The employment rate dropped 0.8% from 58.7% last year to 57.9%. Among the people in their twenties, job-seekers, who are classified as “on a break,” also increased by 31,000 (13.1%) from a year ago.

The decline in youth employment and the increase in the actual unemployment rate experienced by the young people is depressing news indeed for the people preparing to enter the job market, already disappointed at a series of corruption cases in the recruitment of employees by public and financial institutions. In a parliamentary inspection a few days ago, Justice Party lawmaker Sim Sang-jeung raised allegations of corruption in the recruitment of employees at Woori Bank. According to a document titled, “Recommendations for the Public Recruitment of New Employees in 2016,” which Sim released, Woori Bank allegedly recruited sixteen children and relatives of senior officials at the National Intelligence Service and the Financial Supervisory Service and of VIP customers when hiring new workers last year. The document included the personal information of the people who were suspected of having made the solicitation under the column for “relevant information,” as well as the personal information of the applicants, such as name, age, gender, and educational background. The name and position of the Woori Bank executive was written under the column “referrer” and in the case of the children of VIP customers, the bank account details of the applicant was included in the “remarks” section. If this allegation is true, it is indeed shocking. The moral hazard of the executives and employees at the Financial Supervisory Service is serious, as allegations of job solicitations have emerged following problems with large loans and corruption in employee recruitment.

Words cannot express the shock that the people seeking employment must have felt after corruption in the recruitment process at Kangwon Land and the Financial Supervisory Service was exposed, ahead of Woori Bank. Irregularities in the recruitment process at public and financial institutions shatter the principle of equal opportunity and are crimes that discourage the people seeking employment. The government should thoroughly investigate the latest corruption case and strictly punish those responsible. In addition, the government needs to make every effort to provide a policy that can promote the employment of young people.

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The 30th Anniversary of APH International Symposium

APH symposium

 

The Korean Association of Physicians for Humanism announced that they will be holding international Symposium for their 30th Anniversary. The symposium focuses on the inequalities of health inequalities and the role of physicians in the era of inequality and invites doctors in action from Japan, the United Kingdom, and the Philippines to share their experiences.

In the second part of the lecture, Michael Marmot, the renowned researcher on health inequality, and former president of the World Physicians Association will give a lecture on the social determinants of health.

The event will be held in Sejong Center, 21th November.

Complaints soar after release of info on sanitary pads

#women_health #chemical #safety #menstrual_care_product

Chemical safety problem around various products issued in Korea, starting from humidifier sterilizer, sanitary pads, pesticide-containing egg, etc. Is this just society being chemical-phobic and untrustful or is it because exposure to unregulated toxic chemicals included in everyday supplies rightfuly being exposed?

 

 


Complaints about unexpected side effects from using sanitary pads have spiked since mid-August when information regarding the materials used in these products were released, according to the Food and Drug Safety Ministry on Wednesday.

Since Aug. 21, a total of 74 complaints have been lodged with the Korea Institute of Drug Safety and Risk Management concerning the use of menstrual care products. There were no complaints regarding menstrual care products reported before Aug. 20.

The complaints mostly focused on the use of Lilian pads, which were named as one of the brands of products containing toxins. Side effects that were reported included changes in menstrual cycles and volume.

Sanitary pads at a discount retailer in Seoul (Yonhap)

The complaints were sent by the Food and Drug Safety Ministry to a committee on sanitary pad safety, made up of independent experts for further study. The committee will be responsible for leading tests on existing products in the market and creating new sets of standards for specific toxins that are found in sanitary products.

Meanwhile, a local women’s rights group announced last month that it had collected complaints from over 3,000 women over three days last month after the safety study was made public.

Additional information released by the Food and Drug Safety Ministry showed that all of the top brands of sanitary pads being sold in Korea contained toxic chemicals.

These types of chemicals have not yet been scientifically linked to health risks for women, but the news has led to more consumers turning to organic cotton products or buying menstrual cups directly from overseas sellers.

Sales of cotton pads in the two weeks following initial news reports about Lilian pads rose 385 percent on-year at discount retailer E-mart. Sales of menstrual cups to Korean consumers from health products website Vitatra rose 470 percent compared to the previous week, in the week following the reports. Menstrual cups have not yet been certified for sale in Korea.

“This case demonstrates how crucial it is for consumers to have the right information,” said Park Myung-hee, who heads the consumer rights group Korea Consumer’s Network.

“Women could not come forward before because they did not know that it was possible that these products contained toxins, but that did not mean there was no risk. Rather than taking action only on products that create public outcry, safety agencies need to make more of an effort to identify risks ahead of time and engage with the public.”

By Won Ho-jung (hjwon@heraldcorp.com)

Original article from: http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20170906000823&ACE_SEARCH=1

[Big Data on Suicide Unveiled for the First Time] People at Risk of Suicide Lived in Poor Housing Conditions (kyung-hyang)

#Suicide #SDH  #housing #Korea #Public_View

“…the latest research confirmed that housing environment had a significant impact on suicides. Regardless of the geographical location, there were many people at risk of suicide people who had contemplated suicide among those paying a monthly rent for houses smaller than 66m2.”

 

 

South Korea’s suicide rate is among the highest in the world. Since 2003, more than 10,000 people took their own lives every year, granting South Korea with the disgraceful title of the number one country in suicides among the member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Last year, 28.7 people per every 100,000 of the population committed suicide, widening the gap with second place Japan (18.7).

It now seems possible to identify areas where people at risk of suicide mostly reside using numbers, such as the population, geographical information and past suicide statistics. If we concentrate on areas at high risk based on this data, we may be able to prevent a considerable number of suicides.

On September 10, World Suicide Prevention Day, Public View, a nonprofit research network, released a 2017-2018 map to prevent and respond to people at risk of suicide. This map categorized seventeen metropolitan cities and provinces, 252 si, gun and gus, and 3,491 eup, myeon, and dongs into five levels (A-E), according to the percentage of people at risk of suicide. The area with the highest risk was labeled A and among the metropolitan cities and provinces, the Seoul metropolitan area including Seoul, Gyeonggi-do, and Incheon fit in this category. The proportion of people at risk of suicide decreased outside large cities, but there was a big difference among eup, myeon and dong within the provinces and larger cities.

After surveying 4,500 people nationwide and analyzing the distribution of actual suicide victims by region over the past decade, the latest research confirmed that housing environment had a significant impact on suicides. Regardless of the geographical location, there were many people at risk of suicide people who had contemplated suicide among those paying a monthly rent for houses smaller than 66m2. This means that socio-economic factors, as well as psychological problems like depression, stress, and anger are the main cause of suicide.

In the northern part of Seoul, there were many people in their twenties and thirties who were at high risk, while below the Hangang River, people aged 35-44 were the main people at risk. In Gangwon-do, Daegu, Gyeongsangbuk-do and Gyeonggi-do, people in their forties and fifties were at high risk while in Jeju-do, people in their forties and sixties were at high risk of suicide.

Experts point out that to reduce the number of suicides, the government needs to analyze the characteristics and distribution of people at risk and link this to welfare and housing policies. In Japan, stronger responses in connection with the local community have been effective in reducing the suicide rate by 30% over ten years. Choi Jeong-muk, the deputy director of the Local Government Data Research Institute, a member of Public View, which organized the latest research, said, “We were able to identify the status of areas where more people at high risk of suicide lived in with the geographical data. We should be able to effectively increase the infrastructure necessary to respond to and prevent suicide.”

원문보기:
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