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2010 Crackdown on migrant workers in S. Korea

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2010 Crackdown on migrant workers in S. Korea
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(The Unity of Filipino Migrant Workers Associations in Korea)


The Unity of Filipino Migrant Workers in Korea or KASAMMAKO denounces the
criminalization, intensified crackdown and repression of migrant workers
in South Korea. The Korean government has used the visa status of migrant
workers especially the undocumented migrant workers as a scapegoat in
launching the anti-terrorism campaign in view of the governmentâ€s
hosting of the G-20 Summit in November this year. There had been a
mapping of areas where migrant workers live and work and the immigration
police have raided many factories, carrying with them search warrants for
identified factories.

As of May 16, there were already thirty two (32) Filipino migrant workers
nabbed by the Immigration police last week few days after the Ministry of
Justice announced the conduct intensified crackdown on May 4, 2010. The
Filipino migrant workers are among the hundreds of thousands of
undocumented migrant workers which are target of cleaning-up of criminals
in the country, a xenophobic response that violates the fundamental human
rights of migrant workers and all foreigners working and living in the
country. Migrant workers of coloured race are doubly prejudiced because
they can be easily identified such as the South and Southeast Asians,
Africans and Chinese are the targets of the crackdown, in comparison to
the fair skinned Caucasians from North America, Eastern Europe and
Central Asia.

The National Police Agency on May 4, 2010 announced through a press
statement that they have also started the "G-20 Preemptive Response"
beginning May 2nd. They have stated that as the foreign population
increases in the country so do the crime rate committed by foreigners.
The National Police Agency has started the conduct of special
investigations in areas where there is a high concentration of
foreigners. The investigation will continue for fifty days (50) on the
national level while for Seoul region the investigation will be for two

Since majority of the foreign population in Seoul metropolitan area are
75% Chinese. It is founded that the target for arrests are primarily
these ethnic groups. Areas specific to one nationality are classified as
target areas such as the following: the Chinese in Yeoungdungpo, Guro and
Guemcheon areas, Mongolians in Junggu specifically the Mongolian town
in Gwanghuidong; the Vietnamese in Seongdonggu, Geumcheongu and
Seongbukgu; Russians and Uzbeks in Junggu, especially the Russian Street
in Gwanghuidong. Finally, the Nigerians in Yongsan and Itaewon.

According to their press release the target of their investigation and
eventual deportation are the following:Â foreigners who are suspects in
a crime; foreigners who are in possession of deadly weapons (e.g. knives,
etc.); foreigners who have pending arrest warrants; sex workers and their
costumers and the undocumented migrant workers. The statement as well
disclosed that raids on houses and work places of foreigners would be
done both day and night in identified areas as well as random street
checking of the foreign nationals.

Although the government through the Ministry of Justice has advertised
that the period of intensified crackdown on undocumented migrant workers
and foreigners will begin on June 1st and will last until August 31,
2010, several hundreds of migrant workers have already been arrested and
waiting for deportation to their home countries. The enticement of the
government for voluntary departure comprise of these: all migrant workers
who voluntarily leave Korea within this period will not be penalized for
overstaying and will be exempted from a 5-year immigration ban in Korea.
They will be able to take the Korean language test and reapply for work
in Korea through the Employment Permit System (EPS). The employers are
also encouraged to surrender their undocumented workers so that they can
be exempted from paying the fine of up to 20 million won. They will also
be able to hire EPS workers that would replace their lost manpower. Â

KASAMMAKO calls on President Lee Myung-Bak to immediately STOP THE CRACKDOWN on migrant workers. The continuance of this immigration strategy is a violation of the United Nations International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. It will further alienate South Korea from the migrant workers who have contributed in sustaining the economic development of the country. It will also aggravate the condition of the weakening productivity of the small and medium scale enterprises.

We denounce the militarist approach of resolving labour and immigration issues. Migrant workers regardless of their visa status have been working in the country as productive forces and have been contributing to the national economic development, but they are treated with suspicion as common criminals and are racially discriminated. The use of police power to reduce the number of undocumented migrant workers and foreigners in preparation for the G-20 Summit in Korea would widen the racial divide and will intensify xenophobia among Korean citizens and will result in racial motivated conflicts.

KASAMMAKO demands for the legalization of undocumented migrant workers. which is the right medicine that solve the problem of undocumented it was been proven wayback on Â1991 when the government gave 6 months permit to all undocumented migrants workers and extended for 2 years, it was also applied on the year 2002 before the EPS law was implemented. Â

Furthermore, the increase of number of undocumented migrant workers is consequent of the faulty labor Employment Permit System (EPS). We Demand that the EPS must be change to new labor arrangement that would ensure the respect of rights of migrants and equal protection under the law.Â

We call on the Philippine government especially the Philippine Embassy in Seoul to protest this inhumane program of the Korean government and actively monitor the every detention center around the country for Filipino migrant workers processed for deportation in need of assistance such the speedy issuance of travel documents that should be gratis, provide shelter and basic subsistence for those who are forced to leave their jobs for fear of their employers of possible penalty for hiring them.

We call on all migrant workers network, concerned institutions, and individuals around the world to similarly denounce this ongoing crackdown, criminalization and repression of migrant workers and foreigners in South Korea.




Seoul, South Korea

You can send you response through this email: "jones Espino" jonesespino@gmail.com,


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