Taean Power Plant tragedy and the grim practice of outsourcing risk(hankyoreh)

#Taean_power_plant_tragedy #privatization #outsourcing_of_risk #subcontraction_worker_safety #South_Korea

“…critics are calling the accident a result of the government’s opening of the market for power plant servicing, which has led to competition for low-cost orders and the outsourcing of risk. ”

“…337 or the 346 accidents (97%) that took place over the five years from 2012 to 2016 at the five power companies (Korea Southwest Power, Korea Western Power, Korea Midland Power, Korea Southern Power and Korea East-West Power) occurred in subcontracted work. Subcontractor employees also accounted for 37 of the 40 deaths due to industrial accidents at the same companies over the nine years from 2008 to 2016, or 92%.”

Link: Original article from hankyoreh

How the privatization of public services and outsourcing of risk breeds accidents

A tragedy spawned by the outsourcing of risk claimed the life of another young subcontracting worker with the death of 24-year-old Kim Yong-gyun.

The discovery that Kim, who died on Dec. 11 after being caught in a machine at the Taean Power Station in South Chungcheong Province, was a subcontractor employee hired for a contracted position last September has prompted calls to end what many see as a vicious cycle of outsourcing critical work to irregular workers.
Operation and maintenance at the Korea Western Power Co. plant in Taean where Kim worked is performed by small private subcontractors. Korea Electric Power Industrial Development (KEPID) is responsible for the first to eighth units, while the ninth and tenth – where Kim lost his life – is handled by the Korea Engineering and Power Service (KEPS). The structure is one where the facilities belong to Korea Western Power, while the power plant’s operation is supervised by private subcontractors.KEPS, the company where Kim worked, was originally a public enterprise, but since 2014 the private equity investment company Kallista [sp.] Power Synergy has owned a 52.4% stake. Lee Seung-won, CEO of the managing company Kallista, is also CEO of KEPS.
For that reason, critics are calling the accident a result of the government’s opening of the market for power plant servicing, which has led to competition for low-cost orders and the outsourcing of risk. Members of the labor community contend that costs in non-profitable areas like servicing and safety are inevitably minimized when a private equity fund seeking maximum profits gets put in charge – as in the case of KEPS, the company where the accident occurred.
In the 1980s, power plant servicing and operation was a public monopoly under the responsibility of the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) and its subsidiaries. But after the 1994 KEPCO KPS strike, the government spearheaded a privatization push. In the response to the strike by a KEPCO subsidiary in charge of power plant servicing, its idea was to allow the private market to provide the workforce and technology and replace the workers as needed. Ostensibly to boost the competitiveness of the small-scale private subcontractors that emerged, the government moved in 2013 to require competitive bidding for some domestic servicing volumes – the first stage of openness in power plant servicing.
“KEPS won its contract for operating and servicing coal equipment through competitive bidding with Korea Plant Service & Engineering (KPS),” explained a Korea Western Power official.“The competitive bidding was mandated by government policy,” the official said.
The government also planned for a second stage of openness with even more volumes put up for bidding, but that was put on hold with the arrival of the Moon Jae-in administration and its policies for granting irregular workers at public institutions regular worker status.
97% of power plant accidents occurred among subcontractor workers from 2012-2016
It is only a matter of time before poor safety conditions for subcontracting workers become an issue again. In April, the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union (KPTU) reported that 337 or the 346 accidents (97%) that took place over the five years from 2012 to 2016 at the five power companies (Korea Southwest Power, Korea Western Power, Korea Midland Power, Korea Southern Power and Korea East-West Power) occurred in subcontracted work.
Subcontractor employees also accounted for 37 of the 40 deaths due to industrial accidents at the same companies over the nine years from 2008 to 2016, or 92%.
Subcontractor employees often end up falling between the cracks in terms of industrial safety. The companies are small in scale, and because workers are mainly hired under one-year contracts like Kim’s, they have little opportunity to develop their skills. The labor world has focused in particular on the fact that Kim’s death occurred while he was performing dangerous work alone late at night.
“The work that Mr. Kim was engaged in was originally something that a single shift of two full-time power plant employees would perform, but the outsourcing-based restructuring of the power plants resulted in those duties being passed on to subcontractors,” the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) said in a Dec. 11 statement.
“Mr. Kim would not have lost his life had they merely accepted the staff increases and two-person shifts that the labor world has been consistently demanding,” it argued.

Taean Power Plant. (Korea Western Power website)


No punishment for companies employing subcontractors
According to data received from the Ministry of Employment and Labor by the office of Democratic Party lawmaker Lee Yong-deuk, a total of 28 industrial accidents resulting in the deaths of three or more people occurred between 2013 and June 2018. A total of 109 workers died in the accidents, with 93 of them (85%) employed by subcontractors. In none of the cases did the company employing subcontractors receive punishment.
The outsourcing of risk drew heavy condemnation at a press conference held by representatives of the labor world at the Press Center in Seoul’s Jung (Central) district on Dec. 11.
“When the KTX train traveling the Gangneung line derailed at 7:35 am on Dec. 8, no one was more taken aback than the employees riding on the train, but because they were affiliated with Korail Tourism Development rather than Korail itself, no one said anything to them about what the situation was or what actions were being taken,” said the group Joint Struggle for Irregular Workers.
“These incidents with the KTX derailment and the KT [communications disruption] are just examples of the outsourcing of risk,” the group argued.
The labor community stressed the need to hold the companies employing subcontractors more accountable.
“We also need to change the paradigm, for example by introducing legislation to increase company accountability and punish companies involved in major disasters,” said Choi Myeong-seon, head of KCTU’s labor safety and public health office.
By Lee Ji-hye, Choi Ha-yan and Jung Hwan-bong, staff reporters

[call for petition]Abortion should be decriminalized in South Korea, now!

PHM Korea supports the campaign of Joint Action for Reproductive Justice in South Korea which demands people’s action for the decriminalization of abortion and expansion of access to safe abortion in South Korea.

Please Join for the petition.

Petition for Safe Abortion in South Korea

#Reproductice_justice #safe_abortion #medical_abortion #South_Korea



In South Korea, abortion is the only medical procedure included in the Criminal Code (Article 269 and 270) since 1953. Abortion is only legal if the pregnancy causes the woman serious physical health issues, if the pregnancy is a result of an incest/rape, or if one of the parents has ‘eugenic’ disease. Also, this law requires the consent of (male) spouses even in these grounds. Women can be sentenced to a year in prison or ordered to pay fines of two million won (about $2,000) for having abortions. Doctors, midwives and any healthcare workers who provide abortions can face up to two years imprisonment.

Korean women and doctors for sexual, reproductive health and right(SRHR) have been fighting for decriminalizing of abortion since 2010. This year is a very critical moment to decriminalize abortion under the circumstances that the Constitutional Court is currently reviewing a case that challenges the abortion law’s constitutionality. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Welfare issued revised regulations toughening punishment for doctors who perform abortions. The ministry also labeled providing abortion services as an ‘immoral medical practice’.

Abortion has been a widespread experience for many Korean women. According to a government estimate, based on a survey of women of childbearing age, 169,000 abortions(16 abortions per 1,000 people) were conducted in 2010, the latest year for which data is available. While the government has neglected it, abortion practice was not adequately monitored nor officially educated.

Sign the petition to decriminalize abortion and to expand access to safe abortion in South Korea. We’ll collect our voices directly to the Constitutional Court, and push to draw the stalled verdict. By signing you will be a great support to women’s movement in South Korea and stunning wake-up call for our policymakers and judges.

[Our demands]
-Article 269, 270 of the Criminal Code is unconstitutional. Repeal the 269, 270!”
-Provide safe abortion!
-Officially register the abortion pills!
-Guarantee sexual rights and comprehensive sexual education!
-Guarantee safe and legal abortion for everyone!
-End stigma!

People’s Health Movement global on the human rights violations in Nicaragua

니카라과에서 민주화 투쟁에 대한 폭력적인 탄압이 이루어지고 있습니다.

#Nicaragua #Human_right_violation #PHM #PHM_Korea

PHM이 니카라과의 인권침해에 대한 성명(본문 링크)을 발표했습니다.
PHM은 정부보건자문서비스센터(Center for Information and Health Advisory Services, CISAS)의 등록을 취소하고 인권운동을 이끌고 있는 아나 퀴로스 비케즈 소장을 강제 추방한 니카라과 정부의 조치를 규탄한다. 1983년 설립된 CISAS는 니카라과에서 건강, 평화, 정의를 위한 투쟁에서 역사적인 역할을 해 왔다.

PHM은 아나 퀴로스 비케즈의 시민권 복권을 요구하는 PHM 중남미 지부의 요구를 전적으로 지지한다.

PHM은 연금 개혁과 인권 유린에 반대하는 대중의 선언에 대한 니카라과 정부의 폭력적 탄압에 깊은 우려를 표한다.

PHM은 더 나은 보건의료와 건강의 사회적 결정요인을 위한 행동, 건강 형평성을 위해 일하는 시민사회 운동가들의 세계적 네트워크이다. PHM은 중남미 대부분 나라를 포함해 전 세계 80개 이상 국가에서 활동하고 있다. PHM은 전 세계 수천 명의 건강 운동가들이 CISAS와 아나 퀴로즈 비케즈, 그리고 CISAS와 관련된 다른 동료들과 연대해주기를 요청한다.

People’s Health Movement Global Steering Council

People’s Health Movement (PHM) tribute: Dr Amit Sengupta

민중건강운동(PHM)에서 Dr. Amit Sengupta의 부고를 전합니다.

사랑받는 동료, 친구, 멘토이자 활동가였던 Dr. Amit Sengupta가 2018년 11월 28일 인도 고아주에서 발생한 사고로 세상을 떠났습니다. Amit는 PHM의 창립 회원이었으며, 모두를 위한 건강(Health for All)을 목표로 공중 보건과 의약품 정책에 헌신해 왔습니다. 그는 PHM의 부국장이었고, Global Health Watch와 WHO Watch의 편집위원회를 이끌고 있었습니다. 또한 최근 다카에서 열린 총회에서 건강과 사회 정의를 위한 공동 행동 계획을 수립하고 공유하는데도 중요한 역할을 했습니다.

PHM의 일원으로 PHM Korea는 Amit를 동료로 둔 특권을 누려 왔습니다. PHM, 그가 설립한 PHM의 인도 지부인 JSA, 그리고 그를 기리는 우리는 모두를 위한 건강을 꿈꾸던 그의 비전을 계속해서 추구하려고 합니다.

Amit 동지, 감사합니다.
민중건강운동 한국 지부
2018년 11월 29일


It is with extreme sadness that we announce the passing away of our dear comrade Dr. Amit Sengupta, a beloved colleague, friend, mentor and activist. Amit passed away on 28 November 2018, in a swimming accident in Goa, India.

Amit was a founding member of PHM at its creation in 2000 in Savar, Bangladesh.

Trained as a medical doctor, Amit dedicated his life to the struggle for universal access to health, and worked on issues related to public health, pharmaceuticals policy and intellectual property rights. He led several research projects in the area of public health and medicines policy, and was associated with several civil society platforms and networks, including the All India People’s Science Network. He was the Associate Global Coordinator of People’s Health Movement (PHM) and coordinated the editorial group of the Global Health Watch and the WHO Watch. He was the Co Convenor of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA), the Indian Chapter of PHM. He wrote regularly for journals and newspapers across India and the world.

Amit played a key role in the recently concluded People’s Health Assembly in Dhaka where more than 1400 people from around 73 countries came together to share their struggles and plan for coordinated action for health and social justice.

Amit brought his enormous political, organisational and leadership capacity to PHM. We were privileged to have him as a co-traveller. He leaves us a wonderful legacy: the magic of his life, his intelligence, warmth, honesty, joy, wry humour and his steadfast commitment to a just and equitable world.

The untimely demise of this special comrade and friend is an irreparable loss to all of us personally, Amit’s family and for the broader health movement globally and in India. We offer our condolences and solidarity to Amit’s wife Tripta and son Arijit. PHM and JSA will continue to carry forward Amit’s vision of strengthening the public health movement towards health for all.

Thank you comrade Amit.

Adios, Red Salute, Laal salaam!

Long Live Amit Sengupta!

People’s Health Movement Steering Council and Global Secretariat

28 November 2018

Alternative Astana Statement

일차보건의료에 대한 시민사회의 대안 아스타나 성명


2018.10.24. People’s Health Movement




공익을 추구하는 시민사회와 사회운동의 회원이며 일차보건의료에 대한 국제 컨퍼런스에 참여하고 있는 일원으로 우리는 모두의 건강과 안녕을 추구함으로써 건강 형평성을 달성하고자 하는 일차보건의료에 대한 우리의 헌신을 다시 확인한다. 우리는 다음과 같은 세상을 상상한다.


  • 사람들의 건강을 중요하게 여기고 이를 보호하며 증진하는 사회와 환경
  • 모든 곳에서 모두가 접근 가능하고 지불 가능하며 수용할 수 있는 보건의료서비스
  • 사람들의 존엄을 지키고 존중하는 양질의 보건의료서비스
  • 지역사회가 통제력을 행사할 수 있는 보건의료체계


아나스타 선언은 이런 목적들을 공유하지만 여기서 일차보건의료는 보편적 건강보장(Universal Health Coverage, UHC)의 주춧돌, 혹은 기반으로 도구화 되어 있다. 일차보건의료는 보다 넓은 의미를 포괄한다. 많은 나라에서 보편적 건강보장은 민간의료보험회사에 의해 시행되고 있으며 이는 건강형평성을 악화하고 있다. 아스타나 선언은 “건강 결과에서 격차와 건강 불평등이 지속된다는 사실이 윤리적, 정치적, 사회적, 경제적으로 수용 불가능하다”고 공식적으로 인식하지만 일부 지역에서 건강 수준이 오히려 나빠지고 있음을 의식하지 않는다. 선언은 만성질환의 위험 요인뿐만 아니라 “전쟁, 폭력, 유행병, 자연 재해, 기후 변화, 극단적 기후, 다른 환경적 요인”들로 인한 조기사망에 대해 인정하고 있지만 이들의 원인이 되는 근본적인 경제적 정치적 원인과 전세계적으로 확대되고 있는 불평등에 대해 명시하지 않는다. 이러한 이유로 민중건강운동을 비롯한 진보적 시민사회조직과 사회운동단체인 우리들은 아나스타 선언에 대한 대안 성명을 제안해야 할 필요가 있음을 표명한다.

세계보건기구 헌장에 명시된 바와 같이, 가능한 최고의 건강을 달성하는 것은 모든 인간의 기본 권리이다. 40년 전, 1978년 세계의 지도자들은 알마아타 선언에서 일차보건의료를 통해 모든 사람들의 건강을 위해 헌신할 것을 약속했다. 우리 서명자들은 전 세계 모든 사람들의 건강을 보호하고 증진하기 위해 모든 국제 기구와 정부, 모든 보건의료와 개발 종사자들, 그리고 세계 공동체가 긴급한 행동에 나설 필요가 있음을 밝히고, 다음과 같이 선언한다.


  1. 우리는 단지 질병이 부재한 상태가 아닌 완전한 신체적, 정신적, 사회적, 문화적, 생태적으로 온존한 상태를 의미하는 건강이 인간의 근본적 권리이며, 달성할 수 있는 최상의 건강 수준을 달성하는 것이 세계적으로 가장 중요한 사회적 목표 중 하나임을 강력하게 재확인한다. 각국 정부는 이 목표를 실현해야 할 책임을 지며, 이를 위해서는 건강 영역 외에도 다수의 사회적 경제적 부문의 조치가 필요하다. 사람들의 건강은 번영하는 삶과 건강하고 보호받는 자연 환경을 촉진하는 사회와 일하고 살아가는 조건에 달려있다.
  2. 국가 간, 국가 내에서뿐만 아니라 전세계적으로 존재하고, 점차 벌어지고 있는 극단적 경제적 불평등과 건강 불평등은 정치적, 사회적, 경제적, 윤리적으로 받아들일 수 없으며 이는 환경 파괴와 분쟁의 근원이기에 모든 국가에게 공통의 문제이다.
  3. 공정한 경제적, 사회적 발전을 위해서는 현재 지배적인 신자유주의 패러다임을 거부하고 국제적, 국가적으로 지속가능하고 평등한 경제 질서를 수립해야 한다. 달성가능한 모두의 건강을 성취하고 국가 간, 국가 내 건강 격차를 줄이기 위해 무엇보다도 국제적 금융 흐름과 조세피난처와 조세회피를 규제하는 것이 시급하며, 이와 더불어 젠더, 신분, 인종, 장애, 성적 지향으로 인한 불평등을 해소하기 위한 인식과 실천이 중요하다. 모든 사람의 건강과 안녕을 증진, 보호하는 것은 세계 평화와 환경 보호에 기여하는 지속가능하고 평등한 사회적 경제적 개발을 가능하게 할 것이다.
  4. 사람들은 각자의 건강을 돌보기 위한 계획과 집행에 개별적으로 그리고 집합적으로 참여할 수 있는 기회를 제공받아야 한다. 이 참여는 연령, 젠더, 민족, 사회경제적 지위를 고려해야 하며, 적절한 경우 디지털 기술을 활용해야 한다.
  5. 정부는 유엔인권선언에 명시된 다른 권리들과 함께 국민의 건강권을 실현할 책임이 있다. 앞으로 수십년 간 정부, 국제기구, 전세계 공동체는 전 세계 모든 사람들이 사회적, 경제적으로 번성하는 삶을 살 수 있도록 적정한 수준의 건강을 달성하는 것을 중요한 사회적 목표로 삼아야 한다. 유엔의 지속가능한 발전목표(Sustainable Developmental Goals, SDGs)는 국제적, 국가적으로 평등하고 지속가능한 경제 질서를 확립하는 데에 기여함으로써 이런 목표를 달성하는 데에 중요한 역할을 할 수 있다. 일차보건의료는 사회정의를 추구하는 개발의 한 부분으로 모두의 건강을 성취하기 위한 열쇠이며, 현재의 지식, 기술, 자원을 고려한다면 이는 충분히 가능하다.
  6. 일차보건의료를 실현하기 위해서는 효과적이고 책무성 있는 국제적 거버넌스가 필요하다. 여기에는 건강과 건강에 이로운 여러 서비스들의 재원 조달을 위해 모든 개인과 기업이 공평하게 세금을 납부하게 하기 위한 효과적인 과세 수단이 포함된다.
  7. 2018년 현재, 지구 상의 생명체들은 가속되는 기후변화로 인해 위협받고 있다. 따라서 일차보건의료 접근은 우리 모두가 국민 국가의 시민일 뿐만 아니라 이 행성의 시민임을 제안하는 지구 헌장(Earth Charter, 2000)을 지지해야 한다. 이는 자연환경과 지구 상의 다른 종들과 조화롭게 살아가며 이를 보호하는 것과, 인간 사회 안에서 형평과 사회 정의의 상호연관을 인식하는 것이다. 지구 헌장의 모든 핵심적 원칙들은 일차보건의료 운동과 공유된다.
  8. 일차보건의료는 과학적으로 건전하며 사회적으로 받아들일 수 있는 방법과 기술을 토대로 하는 필수 보건의료이며, 지역사회의 모든 개인과 가족들이 자기결정의 원리에 따라 이에 충분히 참여하고 보편적으로 접근가능해야 한다. 일차보건의료는 국가의 보건의료체계의 중심 기능이자 주요 초점인 동시에 전반적인 사회적 경제적 발전의 핵심적인 부분이다. 일차보건의료는 가구와 지역사회 수준에서 첫 번째 단계의 돌봄을 강조하고, 사람들이 살고 일하는 장소와 최대한 가까운 곳에서 포괄적 보건의료서비스를 지향하며, 다른 수준의 보건의료서비스 및 돌봄과 통합되어야 한다.
  9. 일차보건의료는;
    • 한 국가와 국가 내 공동체들의 경제적 조건과 사회문화적, 정치적 속성을 반영하며 관련된 사회적, 생의학적, 보건의료체계 연구와 공중보건에 대한 경험들을 적용하는 데에 기초한다.
    • 공동체의 주요 건강 문제를 다루며 이를 위한 건강증진, 예방, 치료, 재활, 완화 서비스를 제공한다
    • 최소한 다음의 내용들을 포함한다
      • 주요 건강 문제에 대한 건강 교육과 이를 예방, 통제하는 방법
      • 적절한 영양과 건강한 식품 공급 촉진
      • 기본 위생과 안전한 물의 적절한 공급
      • 모성 건강과 피임, 임신중절을 포함하는 성과 재생산 건강 서비스
      • 젠더기반폭력에 대한 보건의료서비스와 예방
      • 아동 건강 돌봄
      • 주요 감염 질환에 대한 백신접종
      • 지역 내 풍토성 질환 예방 통제
      • 정신질환을 포함한 비전염성 질환 예방 통제
      • 흔한 질병과 손상에 대한 적절한 치료
      • 장애인의 필요를 충족하기 위한 보건의료서비스
      • 필수 의약품 공급
    • 보건 부문 외에도 국가 및 지역사회 개발의 모든 관련 부문, 특히 농업, 무역, 식품, 산업, 교육, 주택, 공공 인프라, 통신과 정보 기술 등과 관련이 있으며 이런 모든 부문의 협력을 필요로 한다.
    • 일차보건의료의 계획, 조직, 운영, 관리에 대한 개인과 공동체의 최대한의 자율성과 참여를 요구, 촉진하고 지역, 국가, 및 기타 가용 자원을 최대한 활용하며 이를 위해 적절한 교육을 통해 지역사회의 참여 능력을 개발한다.
    • 통합되고 기능적이며 상호보완적인 의뢰체계를 통해 지속되어야 하며 이는 모두를 위한 포괄적 보건의료서비스의 점진적 개선을 이끌어 내고 가장 필요한 이들에게 우선순위를 두어야 한다.
    • 지역과 상위 의뢰 수준에서 의사, 간호사, 조산사, 중간의료인력, 마을건강요원 등 보건의료인력, 필요한 경우 적절하게 사회적으로 기술적으로 훈련받은 전통의료인력에 의해 실행되지며 팀으로 일하면서 지역사회의 건강 필요에 대응한다. 모든 정부는 다른 부문과 협력 하에 포괄적 국가 보건의료체계의 일부로 일차보건의료를 강화하고 지속하기 위한 국가 정책, 전략, 실행 계획을 수립해야 한다. 이를 위해서는 정치적 의지를 발휘하고 국가의 자원을 동원하며 외부 자원을 합리적으로 사용할 필요가 있다.
  10. 기술은 건강을 향상하는 데에 기여하지만 새로운 기술들이 지혜롭게 사용될 수 있도록 주의가 필요하다;
    • 새로운 바이오기술과 인공지능을 전체 인구집단의 건강과 형평에 기여할 수 있을 가능성 외에도 잠재적으로 해를 끼칠 가능성의 측면에서 검토하고 필요에 따라 규제해야 한다.
    • 특히 민간 부문에서 과도한 기술 적용에 대한 규제가 필요하다. 의료와 산업 농업 부문에서 항생제의 비합리적 남용에서 기인한 항생제 내성 위기가 대표적인 사례이다.
    • 디지털 기술을 활용함으로써 접근성과 서비스 질을 향상할 가능성이 있으나 사회경제적 불평등을 반영하는 디지털 서비스 접근의 기울기를 인식하고 이에 대응하기 위한 전략이 필요하다. 이 기울기를 줄이기 위한 특별한 조치들이 필요하다.
  11. 보편주의적인 것이 당연한 보편적의료보장은 일차보건의료의 핵심 요소이며 이는 사회 연대와 대부분의 서비스를 공공기관을 통해 공급하는 통합된 공공자금지원체계에 기반하여 구축되어야 한다.
  12. 한 국가 사람들의 건강을 보호, 성취하는 것이 모든 다른 나라에 직접적으로 영향을 미치고 혜택을 주게 되므로 원조 프로그램을 포함해 모든 개발 원조는 국가 공중보건의료체계를 강화하고 건강의 사회적, 환경적, 생태학적 요인들을 다루어야 한다.
  13. 보건의료인력 훈련을 일차보건의료 중심으로 재편하고 보건의료인력들에게 안전하고 공정한 근무 환경을 보장해야 한다. 의료인력의 분배는 대단히 불평등하며 더 많은 의료 인력이 필요한 곳에 더 적은 의료 인력이 배치되고 있다(의료 제공 반비례 법칙, Inverse care law). 자국의 보건의료인력 양성을 늘리고 인력유출국의 훈련 비용 손실을 보상하는 등 국제적, 국가적 정책을 통해 중저소득 국가에서 고소득 국가로 두뇌 유출 문제를 해결해야 한다.
  14. 효과적인 일차보건의료체계 시행으로 인한 건강 향상은 건강에 해로운 상품의 거래와 홍보(예. 초가공식품, 알코올, 담배)나 환경적으로 해로운 채굴 산업 등 건강의 상업적 결정요인에 의해 쉽게 저해될 수 있다. 효과적인 규제를 포함해 세계적, 국가적 정책을 통해 건강의 상업적 결정요인의 해로운 영향을 방지해야 한다.
  15. 세계 모든 사람들이 받아들일 수 있는 건강 수준은 세계의 자원을 더 충분히 잘 사용함으로써 성취할 수 있으며, 현재 이 자원 중 상당 부분이 군비와 군사적 충돌에 사용되고 있다. 독립, 평화, 군비 축소에 대한 진정한 정책은 보다 평화적인 목적을 추구하는 데에 추가적 자원을 투입할 수 있고 자원을 투입하도록 해야 한다. 특히 일차보건의료가 핵심적인 부분을 구성하는 사회적 경제적 개발을 가속하고 이에 필요한 적절한 몫의 자원이 할당되어야 한다.


우리는 광범위한 공공 시민사회조직과 사회운동을 대표하여 일차보건의료에 대한 국제 컨퍼런스가 일차보건의료를 발전시키고 시행하기 위한 긴급하고 효과적인 국가적, 국제적 실천에 나설 것을 요구한다. 이는 전 세계적인 요구인 동시에 중저소득 국가에서 특히 중요하며, 이를 위한 기술 협력과 지속가능하고 공정한 경제 질서의 확립을 지향해야 한다. 이를 위해서는 정부, 세계보건기구, 다른 국제 기구들, 다자기구와 양자기구, 비정부기구, 재정 지원 기관, 모든 보건의료인력, 전세계 공동체가 일차보건의료에 대한 국가적, 국제적 약속을 지지하고 특히 중저소득 국가에 대한 기술적 재정적 자원을 늘려나가야 한다. 우리는 이 선언의 내용과 정신에 따라 일차보건의료에 기초한 공공보건의료체계를 강화, 발전, 조달, 유지하기 위해 협력할 것을 촉구한다.




[Reportage] The human toll of an era that uses the impoverished as disposable commodities(hankyoreh)

“Foreign nationals accounted for nine of the 195 people who died without surviving family or friends at Incheon Medical Center between 2001 and 2017. Their deaths offer a glimpse at an era where the world takes advantage of cheap labor by impoverished people. The global migrations of workers, fragmenting of national identity, and relationship between death and a life of poverty are faintly visible in the last marks these people left on the world when they passed away.”

#Globalization #migration #labor

Original Article from https://bit.ly/2HS45St

Migrant workers sacrifice for a society they will never truly become a part of

Migrant workers gather in front of Jongno Tower in Seoul on World Migrant Workers’ Day, Dec. 18, 2003, to commemorate those killed during the government’s forced deportation crackdown that year. At the far left is a photo of Burkhon, an Uzbek man who died in 2003. (by Kim Jin-su, staff photographer)
Foreign nationals accounted for nine of the 195 people who died without surviving family or friends at Incheon Medical Center between 2001 and 2017. Their deaths offer a glimpse at an era where the world takes advantage of cheap labor by impoverished people. The global migrations of workers, fragmenting of national identity, and relationship between death and a life of poverty are faintly visible in the last marks these people left on the world when they passed away. For the first time, the Hankyoreh is giving voices to the people who put food on our tables, operate our factories, and sustain our day-to-day lives – without ever becoming “one of us.”
My name is Burkhon
I, an Uzbek man who died in 2003 at the age of 50, died on the “outside” from the rest of you. Unable to cross over among you while I was alive, I was forced to roam the outside even after I died, unable to come to rest in your city.Do spirits make a sound? A dog was loudly barking off to one corner of the darkening lumber factory in the Songhyeon neighborhood of Incheon’s Dong (East) district. While I was alive, I was always treated with wariness. I was rejected, policed, hunted. Even after I passed away, I flinched and shrank each time the city growled.
I am the abused
The factory boss came out of the container box office to quiet the dog. Fifteen years have passed, but the boss – now 46 – is still younger than I was when I died. That winter [in 2003], I had come to the lumber factory because I did not know where else to go. Having lost my job in a strange city, the only place I could turn was the factory where my nephew worked.
I was driven out when the South Korean government launched a large-scale crackdown [tracking down and expelling unregistered migrant workers during the adoption of an employment permit system in place of the “industry trainee system” that had been criticized as a “slave training system” since its 1993 implementation]. No sooner had they announced that employers would also be punished for the illegal hiring of foreign nationals than the company [not the lumber factory] forced me to pack my bags. Four months after arriving that July on a tourist visa, I had lost my place of residence and become a fugitive.
The boss opened the door to a bathroom fashioned from a container box. Now as old as the number of years since my passing [the lumber factory relocated to its current location a few months after Burkhon’s death], it seemed about to crumble in its old age the way I had crumbled similarly. The factory was still there, but it was not the same. Lumber was sparse in the factory yard. There were no after-hours volumes, no overtime work. I could not see any non-Korean workers; only a few of the Korean workers were older than I was at the time [all 60 years or older].
The hunting dog followed the scent. Whenever I trembled in fear of being hunted down for being an illegal alien, I heard the sound of barking. Sometimes the noise of the city and the muttering of people that surrounded me in this land whose language I did not speak sounded like a wild beast hidden in the forest. I came to South Korea at the age of 50 after giving US$5,000 to a broker in Samarkand [a city in central Uzbekistan]. If I returned without paying back my debt, my family and I would have no present, let alone a future. Carrying my luggage, I visited the factories where my Uzbek friends were working, but I was unable to find any work for myself.
When I returned to this factory a week after they rejected my application for work, my nephew’s friend reminded me of what the factory boss had said: “We can’t use illegal aliens right now. I can’t even let them into the factory dormitory.”
I was not allowed “inside,” and it was so cold “outside.” Even worse, it was frightening. I told my nephew’s friend I would go back to Uzbekistan the next day and then turned to go. The time-worn door to the bathroom creaked every time it moved, as if marked by memories from 15 years ago. There was an acrid smell in the bathroom from the gas emitted by a heater left on to keep the pipes from bursting. Both then and now, the bathroom was too shabby to be someone’s last place on earth.
After ten days of being chased from place to place [2 am on Nov. 25, 2003], I died in this bathroom. My body was found by the factory workers, hanging from a rope I had attached to the bathroom door. A crumpled plane ticket that I had been fidgeting with for several days turned up in my crumpled clothing.
I was the fourth person to kill himself around the time of the crackdown. The other three were already waiting for me in the spirit world. Darka, a 31-year-old Sri Lankan man, threw himself onto the train tracks on Nov. 11 out of despair for no longer being able to send money to cover his ailing mother’s medical bills.Bikku, a 34-year-old Bangladeshi man, hung himself on Nov. 12. Still owing 4 million won (US$3,700) of the 10 million won (US$9,300) loan he had taken out when he came to South Korea with his younger sibling, he decided it would be better to die in South Korea. Andrei, a 37-year-old Russian man, jumped into the sea on a ship bound for Vladivostok that he had been placed aboard after being apprehended in the crackdown.
My poor family could not afford to bring me home. With the help of some Koreans, including Yang Hye-u, then-director of the Korea Migrant Human Rights Center, who had been granted power of attorney by fax, my body was embalmed by students doing a practicum for a degree in mortuary science and loaded in the cargo container of a plane. Ten days into the crackdown, the government announced its “progress”: 1,233 people rounded up and 606 people deported. Two days after my funeral, it launched a second round of the crackdown on Dec. 8.
After coming out of the bathroom, the boss looked up at the red sky. I didn’t die in this bathroom because I resented him for not giving me work. There was just nowhere else where I could die. In the words of the boss, this was a time when “immigration agents were sweeping every factory and rounding up foreigners every day.” After I died, my nephew and his colleagues all left the factory. The boss, who must think of me every time he goes into that bathroom, might even miss that time “when business was going pretty well.” Since I hung myself in the bathroom, I have decayed along with the door, but I’m still unable to go inside the factory.

A bathroom inside the Incheon lumber factory where Burkhon killed himself in 2003. Although 15 years have passed, the appearance remains the same. (by Lee Moon-young, staff reporter)

Am I a person or a thing?
An ambulance took me, a 38-year-old ethnic Korean from China, who died in March 2003, from a factory 2.2km away from the rusted bathroom to an emergency room for respiratory paralysis and hypoxic brain injury. Born in a village of ethnic Koreans in the city of Shenyang, in China’s Liaoning Province, I worked at a factory in the Dohwa neighborhood of the Nam (South) District next to an elevated highway in this city. The company boss cut off contact with me without paying my hospital bills, saying that times were tough. A foreman at the factory ducked responsibility, too, claiming he couldn’t do anything because he hadn’t heard from the boss.
I’m a person, but I was “imported” like a product. And once I lost my utility, I was disregarded like a useless thing. My older brother didn’t have the money to pay for my internment. Since he was illiterate, a friend filled out the form on his behalf, promising to pay the hospital bill later, when he got the money. It wasn’t until a month after I died that I was sent to the crematorium.
I was one of nine foreigners who have died in this city without any next of kin. Foreigners accounted for nine of 195 people who died without any connections at the Incheon Metropolitan City Medical Center between 2001 and 2017.
I had been told that this city that was organized according to the needs of the powerful countries that forced Korea to open up two centuries before was called Incheon. Japan, Qing China, the US, the UK, Germany, Russia and France set up international settlements there.
Now when I die alone in this city, I am either a descendant of those who settled there at that time (two overseas Taiwanese, one Chinese national), a person with a Korean identity who came to the motherland only to be treated as a foreigner (one ethnic Korean in China) or a migrant worker from a poor and weak country (one Uzbek, one Mongolian, one Nepalese, one Burmese and one Ugandan].
Why am I – a person whose manner of death speaks to the hardship of my life – always from “those countries”? Why is it only people from those countries who die as “foreigners without connections” in this city?As of the end of 2016, there were 59,103 foreigners registered as living in Incheon: 25,665 (43.4%) from China, 6,536 (11.0%) from Vietnam, 2,852 (4.8%) from the Philippines, 2,609 (4.4%) from Taiwan, 2,047 (3.4%) from Indonesia, 1,920 (3.2%) from Thailand and 1,010 (1.7%) from Bangladesh. Why am I never from the US (998, 1.6%), Japan (913, 1.5%)or the UK or Canada (272, 0.4%)?Why do they still call me a “foreign son-of-a-bitch” when I take on the hardest labor to keep the city’s factories running? (12,056, or 20.3%, are in Namdong District, the location of Namdong Industrial Park; 11,627, or 19.6% are in Seo District, the location of Geomdan Industrial Park and the lumber center; and 10,933, or 18.4%, are in Bupyeong District, the location of Bupyeong Industrial Park.)
I, a 51-year-old Taiwanese national in the Chinese diaspora, died in 2011 without belonging to anything. Born in the Chinese city of Dalian, my father came to this city in 1939, at the age of 16. When his country was divided between the mainland and the island, he chose the island. His five sons and daughters were all born in South Korea and spent their entire lives there, but we all remained Taiwanese, just like our father. My ancestors had settled in this city as subjects of the treaty signatory (Qing dynasty China) more than two centuries before.With the passage of time, confusion about Chinese nationals, Taiwanese nationals and Chinese in the overseas community, some of whom had retained their original nationality and some who had naturalized, left blind spots in South Korea’s laws and institutions. As the second son, I was the only one of my siblings to complete middle school. The only identity I clung to was my poverty. When I died, the only member of my family who heard the news was my older brother, and he declined to take responsibility for my body. He lived on the streets.
I, a 58-year-old overseas Chinese man with Taiwanese nationality who died in 2015, lived on the streets, too. I died surrounded by a terrible stench. This stench was an intangible wall that divided two worlds. I was taken to a hospital for hypoxic brain injury from the second basement level of the parking garage at a department store in the Gwangyo neighborhood of the Nam (South) District.I was disturbed by the fragrance of mouthwatering food wafting down from the first basement level, while the imported fragrances on the first floor were beautiful enough to conceal even the rank odor of my body. I couldn’t remember why I had gone there – whether because of the hunger or the cold. I spent my life with Korean homeless people around Incheon Munhak Stadium and crawled between two cars parked at the department store to die. The cheers rising from the stadium were so loud, and the laughter filling the department store was so bright. The stench of the street on my body brought scowls to the faces of customers, which confirmed that this was a world I could not enter.
I’m an employee of the world
While I, a 40-year-old Nepalese man who died in 2011, was living on the streets in Seoul, I heard about a free restaurant (the Dandelion Noodle Shop in the Hwasu neighborhood of Dong District) from an old man named Jang and followed him to Incheon. I came to South Korea in the early 1990s to make money. As an industrial trainee, but I came down with a heart condition. After getting sick, I couldn’t find any more work, nor could I return home with a disease instead of money.Every time Koreans were amazed to see this big, dark-skinned Nepalese homeless man, I grew a little bigger, and my skin became a little darker. I was lucky to lie down in a room with the help from the owner of the noodle restaurant before I became as large as a “black dinosaur.” I died “with a slight smile on my face and earphones in my ears one night after I came back from seeing some friends,” in the words of Seo Yeong-nam, owner of Dandelion Noodle Shop.
Instead of being loaded on a plane bound for Nepal, my body was reduced to ashes in this city. I had no home to return to. After I got sick in South Korea, lost my job and couldn’t wire any money, my relatives back home whose livelihood rested on my shoulders scattered in all directions.
I died without being able to escape the yoke of cheap labor. I, a Burmese man who died a violent death in 2013, joined the crew of a South Korean ship at the age of 60. Seven months later, my dead body was brought back to dry land. I, a 28-year-old Mongolian man, died in a traffic accident on the street in front of a vocational school [in 2013] and was sent to my younger sibling who worked in Paju, in Gyeonggi Province.I have been employed in all countries for cheap wages. South Korea, a major destination of migrant workers, has long opened its doors to migrant workers from around the world. My death occurred during that process, and my homeless life was “globalized” on that road. (“Since 2010, the number of foreigners visiting the noodle shop has greatly increased and their nationalities have also become more varied, including Chile, Brazil and India,” said Seo Yeong-nam.)
I have continued to die. Filled with despair over Burkhon’s death, I went to Myeongdong Cathedral with other migrant workers and held a sit-in there for 380 days (Nov. 15, 2003, to Nov. 28, 2004), but there was no end to the dying. I fell to my death when trying to jump to the roof of the next building to escape immigration agents. I died along with Nur Fuad, an Indonesian, when a fire broke out at a foreigner detention center in Yeosu and the staff didn’t open the doors (in total, 10 Chinese, ethnic Koreans, and Uzbeks in 2007 perished in the blaze.)
As I awaited my deportation, I killed myself by shooting myself in the head 33 times with a nail gun (Nguyen Van Thanh, Vietnamese, in 2008). I was asphyxiated while cleaning up pig feces without any safety equipment (four people from Nepal, China and Thailand in 2017), and I killed myself out of despair over a system that kept me from changing jobs without my boss’s consent (Keshav Shrestha, Nepalese, in 2017 – this is one of the most notorious problems with the employment permit system).In the city of Incheon, I worked in all areas of migrant labor. In the words of Kim Ki-dong, former secretary-general of the Korea Migrant Human Rights Center, “Incheon is a microcosm of the migrant situation in South Korea.”In this city, I ploughed the fields (agricultural migrant labor), raised cattle (livestock migrant labor), sailed on ships (shipping crew migrant labor) and worked in factories (manufacturing migrant labor). Without my work, your tables would not be set, your cities would lack amenities and even the reproduction of your families and nation (immigrant spouses) would be in danger. Even though I sustain your daily lives, I’ve never been welcome in your country. There’s always an unyielding line before of my feet over which I’m not allowed to cross.
I’m Burkhon.
Even after becoming a ghost, I’m still trapped outside of you.
By Lee Moon-young, staff reporter

Doctor’s plea: ‘Don’t crack down on foreign TB patients'(TheKoreaTimes)

* Korea has the highest incidence rate of TB among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In 2014, South Korea marked a TB incidence rate of 86 patients per 100,000, seven times higher than the average rate of the developed nations.

* A reporter and the doctor’s narrative being racist enough, but the doctor from  Korean Institute of Tuberculosis’ program claims that treatment of foreign TB patient is necessary and desirable.

#Foreign_patient #Tuberculosis #Korea

Image result for korea tb foreigners

Original Article from: https://bit.ly/2qRES2o
Over 2,000 foreigners are taking advantage of free tuberculosis (TB) treatment, eating away at taxpayers’ money, but cracking down on them is not the answer, a doctor has told The Korea Times.

“If you pursue those freeloaders, they would go underground and run the higher risk of spreading the disease,” Oh Kyung-hyun, head of the state-run Korean Institute of Tuberculosis’ program cooperation department, said. “So treating them at our expense is better for our national health.”

TB is a contagious disease, the treatment of which is 100 percent covered by the government, even if the person does not subscribe to national health insurance.

Korea has the highest rate of TB among the rich OECD member nations.

Foreigners accounted for 6 percent of patients in 2017, 0.5 percent down from the previous year, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). They include long-term resident foreigners who pay medical insurance and those on short-term visas who don’t.

The ratio has risen from 2.4 percent in 2011 to 6.54 percent in 2016.

The bulk of newly diagnosed patients are older people, who accounted for 41.9 percent last year, up 2 percent from the previous year.

The KCDC said it is establishing a new TB control plan for 2018 to 2022, targeting vulnerable groups including foreigners and the elderly.

Under the current policy, foreigners on tourist visas do not need to submit a medical certificate to enter the country. They can get free TB treatment in national hospitals.

Those who visit the country for more than 90 days need to pay health insurance for three months period in advance.

“The issue of foreigners getting free treatment needs to be dealt with at a bilateral level between the Korean government and other countries, where the patients come from,” the doctor said.



Samsung sues government over release of a report on the company’s semiconductor facilities(Hankyoreh)

Still, South Korea’s Samsung Electronics has denied withholding crucial information from workers about which chemicals they have been exposed to at its factories.

#Samsung #business_secret #occupational_disease #Bannolim

Original Article from: https://bit.ly/2IUFbkr


Labor experts dismiss company’s claims that the release jeopardized its business secrets

The workers’ rights group Bannolim, which includes family members of former Samsung employees who were sickened with occupational diseases while working at the company’s semiconductor facilities, demonstrates outside the Seoul Central District Court during the first trial of Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong on Oct. 12. (by Baek So-ah, staff photographer)

Controversy continues over a report measuring the work environment at Samsung’s semiconductor factories. While South Korea’s Ministry of Employment and Labor continues to maintain that releasing the report was necessary to expedite the compensation of the victims of industrial accidents, Samsung Electronics countered by suing the Ministry for releasing the report to the victims and arguing that the report includes business secrets. But several experts in the field of occupational health find Samsung’s arguments hard to believe.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires workplaces dealing with hazardous chemicals to have their work environment measured by an external organization with professional credentials at least once every six months. The resulting report covers the usage of chemicals in each industrial process, a chart showing the location where harmful chemicals were measured for each work site, the measurement of those harmful chemicals and the amount of time that workers are exposed to those harmful chemicals. The workplace in question must display the report so that workers can read it and must also submit it to the local employment and labor board.
Samsung contends that the measured location chart could be used to ascertain the arrangement and sequence of its industrial processes and that the measurement of harmful materials could be used to determine what chemicals are not used by other companies.
But experts describe Samsung’s claims as preposterous. “Since the measured location chart is basically designed to confirm at what point harmful chemicals appeared, it’s little more than vertical lines drawn in a box. The work process chart that the company provides the measuring organization does not include any secret information and only contains the general location,” Yun Chung-sik, a professor of occupational health at the Graduate School of Public Health at Seoul National University, told the Hankyoreh over the phone on Apr. 10.
“The mixture ratio of the chemicals and other matters that Samsung claims are business secrets could not be determined from the report. Samsung needs to specifically explain how the report would compromise its business secrets,” said Park Dong-uk, a professor of environmental health at Korea National Open University.
Another observation is that since the work environment is measured by an external organization selected by the company, it is impossible for business secrets to appear in the report.“There are times when a company does not even provide the measuring organization with the current status of its production equipment because it regards this as a business secret. The most important thing in the report is the amount of the chemicals, and I find myself wondering whether Samsung is reluctant to release the report because the amount written there is excessive or sloppy,” said the president of a work environment measuring organization with 25 years of experience in the field who wished to remain anonymous.
A court has already ruled that the release of a similar report was appropriate based on a “fact check” that it requested from the Korean Industrial Hygiene Association. In February, the bereaved family members of a victim of an industrial accident filed a lawsuit in February demanding that the Cheonan branch of the Daejeon local employment and labor board release the work environment measurement report for Samsung Electronics’ Onyang factory. In this lawsuit, the Daejeon High Court dismissed concerns that releasing the measured location chart would significantly harm Samsung Electronics’ legitimate profits by leaking technical information about the company’s production methods or by allowing information about the company’s production ability to be exploited by its partners or competitors.
By Park Tae-woo, staff reporter

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