Announcing the start of the Philippines Mindoro Island Ethnic Minority Empowerment Project. May 15th is the International Day of Families as designated by the United Nations. There are various forms of families today, and the notion of "family" is changing too. However, the importance of the family still carries unchanging weight. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to ensure that we still support vulnerable individuals and families. Human Asia launches the Mindoro Empowerment Project in celebration of the International Day of Families. We are looking for sponsors who will join our mission to bring light to the lives of Mangyan families with 30,000 KRW per month for the duration of 2 years. Support a family now through the link below. ↓ We look forward to your care and support!
Introducing the new Human Asia official website! Our new and improved platform aims to spread the light of human rights to more people, through updates on our human rights advocacy and human rights-based development activities. . . . The new homepage was created by Here&Now. Thank you once again to Here&Now’s hard-working managers, who helped us release our new website on May 12th. (Sponsored by Papa John’s Pizza)
Human Asia is a member of the Refugee Human Rights Network and supports the activities of the Refugee Human Rights Network. Accordingly, Human Asia supports the official statement and Refugee Human Rights Network’s recent activities issued by the Refugee Human Rights Network. We also hope that other organizations affiliated with Human Asia to support their efforts. Below is the script of the press conference. End discrimination - include migrants equally in the distribution of emergency disaster relief funds! A Joint press conference of the National Immigrant Human Rights Organization in front of the Blue House Following the local governments such as Seoul and Gyeonggi, the Moon Jae-in government will pay emergency disaster relief funds in May. According to the government's announcement, the government stated that in order “to provide livelihood and income security for people suffering from the COVID-19”, and in consideration of widespread national damage and difficulties, [the government] expanded the scope of emergency disaster relief fund subjects from the bottom income bracket of 70% to the entire population.” In addition, a special law was also enacted to “provide a mechanism for high-income earners to voluntarily donate and contribute to the social solidarity with mature citizenship.” Furthermore, this donation will be incorporated into the Employment Insurance Fund so that it can be used for more precious and urgent purposes, such as maintaining the employment and supporting the unemployed people. In the event of a disaster, these policies are implemented to support the damage and stimulate the economy by boosting consumption. However, this policy excludes the majority of migrants, which is a serious problem. On April, 16th, ‘The Disaster Relief Fund Pan-Governmental TF’ announced the detailed criteria for the selection of subjects regarding the migrants. According to this, as of the end of March, approximately 1.44 million out of 1.73 million long-term immigrants are excluded from the subjects. We cannot help but criticize this standard of this criteria as a policy that discriminates and excludes the majority of migrants systematically and does not meet the universality of disaster relief fund. First of all, the fact itself that foreigners are excluded from receiving the emergency disaster relief fund is problematic. People of all nationalities and races are equally subject to viruses. Likewise, migrants living in Korea are equally vulnerable to the disaster damages. Therefore, the government has also stipulated that the quarantine policy should be abided by both citizens and migrants. In this sense, since migrants are actually living in Korea and equally susceptible to the disaster, they should not be discriminated against in terms of receiving the emergency disaster relief fund. Moreover, the statement that among the migrants, only those ‘who are highly related to Koreans through marriage or permanent residents’ can be receive the fund is highly unconvincing. For example, do immigrants with long-term visas, such as nationality or work visa, have a lower relationship with Korean society? If this is because of the fact only those marriage migrants and permanent residents can remain in the data processing of the resident registration and are living in the same household with the citizens, this whole idea is extremely poor and convenient. (Indeed, some local governments have presented this type of justification) There is no reason for migrants to be discriminated against or excluded from paying taxes and contributing to the economy and society. According to the National Tax Service's statistics, in 2018, 573,000 migrants paid 7,836 billion won in earned income tax, and 80,000 migrants paid 383.8 billion won in total as general income tax. If we combine these amounts, it is 1,161.5 billion won. Furthermore, they are also paying local tax, residence tax, and various indirect taxes. According to the Korea Institute for Immigration Policy, the economic contribution that migrant workers have done reached 74.1 trillion won in 2016 and 86.7 trillion won in 2018. Even in overseas cases, migrants are often included in the subjects for support. For instance, Japan, which regarded the migrant policy as being exclusive policy, gave support to migrants in the 2008 financial crisis by distributing the fund with a title as ‘fixed payment.’ Likewise, in this 2020 COVID-19 crisis, Japan is distributing the ‘special fixed payment’ to the immigrants who are registered for more than 3 months, paying 100,000 yen per person (approximately 11.4 million won). Moreover, the U.S. pays $1,200 per adult if the annual income is less than $75,000 (with a combined income of $150,000), including immigrants with social security numbers. For instance, in California state, $500 per person is also distributed to unregistered immigrants with an upper limit of $1,000 per household. In Germany, 5,000 euros are paid to all foreign and domestic freelancers, self-employed businessmen, and small business owners who receive profits by receiving tax numbers. Portugal grants temporary citizenship to all migrants. Canada implements Emergency Response Assistance (CERB), which allows short-term migrant workers and international students to receive fund if they have a valid Social Security number, even if they are not citizens or permanent residents. In Korea, Bucheon City and Ansan City also provide subsidies to migrants. Above all, the realization of “Social Solidarity Based on Mature Citizenship” that the government pointed out needs to first start with making sure that no one in a social community is discriminated against. Even under the Constitution and international law, immigrants, of course, should not be discriminated against, and they have dignity and value as human beings. They also guaranteed rights to live a human life and are the subject of equality. It is unjustifiable to include migrants as necessary in the reproduction and expansion of the population, complementing the workforce, consumption and economic life, payment of taxes and social insurance, etc., and suddenly treating them as invisible ghosts when it comes to the distribution of emergency disaster relief fund. If ‘person comes first’, shouldn't that person also include migrants? If Korea’s quarantine policy model is to be treated as a global example, shouldn't it be an example of economic solidarity and disaster relief funding as well? Shouldn’t we work altogether in order to overcome the disaster with the power of community solidarity? We should not set a precedent for excluding the migrants in this time of global crisis. From the local government to the government, we should no longer make the migrants sad and bitter. The government should pay equally to migrants, not to discriminate and exclude migrants from receiving emergency disaster relief funds! May, 7th, 2020 All participants of a joint press conference for the national immigrant human rights groups Source: Refugee Rights Network Facebook page
As a member of the Korea Refugee Rights Network, Human Asia supports the work activities of the network. The following statement was issued by domestic immigrant and refugee human rights organisations, with full support from Korea Refugee Rights Network. We hope that in accordance with the following, local government bodies including in Gimpo, where numerous migrants including Jumma refugees reside, will practice non-discriminatory policies in the near future. Here is the full statement: We welcome Bucheon City Council's steps towards ‘A World without Discrimination’! - Regarding the recent division by Bucheon City Council to grant basic disaster relief income to foreign residents - On April 29, Bucheon City Council announced that it had passed the 'Partial Amendment to the Disaster Basic Income Payment Ordinance for Bucheon City' in order to broaden the scope of disbursement of basic disaster income and secured further related necessary budgets in Bucheon. The ordinance stated that the purpose of the basic income for disasters in Bucheon City is to 'pay the basic income following national disasters to the citizens of Bucheon to help contribute to the stabilization of living, basic social rights, and the vitalization of the local economy.' The revision critically expanded payment eligibility; from ‘a person who is registered as a resident in the city’ to ‘marriage immigrants, permanent residents, and 'foreigners who are admitted that they need support from the mayor.’ Mayor Deokcheon Jang stated that such foreign residents include ‘all registered foreign citizens residing in Bucheon’. Accordingly, 43,217 registered foreigners in Bucheon, including permanent residents, marriage immigrants, Koreans with foreign citizenship, and migrant workers, can receive basic disaster relief as ‘Bucheon citizens.’ This is the first attempt to include non-Korean residents in national relief efforts, which is a very encouraging sign. Hate and discrimination against immigrants has been continually intensifying during the COVID-19 pandemic. Foreign residents have been discriminated against in the supply of masks and have further typically been excluded from the disaster relief basic income efforts. Non-Korean workers have been the first to be pushed out of the workplace with economic decline, although they have worked hard in each industry to upkeep and maintain Korean society. Therefore, this first attempt to include the majority of foreign residents within COVID-19 relief efforts is extremely meaningful. There are still areas of concern to address regarding the inclusion of all foreign residents. International students, for example, along with unregistered immigrants, are currently unable to claim the basic disaster relief income. We hope that Bucheon helps all members of its society overcome the crisis by distributing the income funds to all. Furthermore, we urge other local government bodies and the central government to follow in Bucheon’s footsteps and provide basic disaster relief income to all residents, Korean or otherwise. Crises and disasters can never be completely overcome when there remains exclusion and discrimination. To keep everyone safe, universal policies must be promoted. It is imperative to have social solidarity and ensure that no one is left out. 2020.04.29 National Immigrant Rights Organization
On Tuesday 20 April, Human Asia and SSK Human Rights Forum held the 64th Human Rights Workshop on the theme of “Pandemic and Human Rights: The Experience of COVID-19 to Korean Society and Human Rights Issues during the Disaster.” In accordance with national social distancing recommendations, the 64th SSK Workshop was held as an online workshop through Zoom, with Dr. Yoon-jung Joo, Senior Researcher at the Seoul National University Social Development Research Institute, as guest speaker. Through this workshop, Dr. Joo pointed out the following human rights issues within the pandemic situation: (1) problems regarding anti-China sentiment and stigmatization; (2) problems for vulnerable social groupS; and (3) issues regarding the degree of infringement on liberal rights caused by the location-tracking wristband. Furthermore, Dr. Joo emphasized the need for medical services against the spread of COVID-19 and human rights-based quarantine policies. She also pointed out the importance of measures for dealing with the post COVID-19 era, in which various new social problems may appear (including mass unemployment). In particular, she highlighted how to deal with the problem of the absence of human rights norms and governance models in disaster situations caused by the unprecedented spread of disease, and referred to the controversies regarding restrictions on privacy and freedom. You can view the 64th Human Rights Workshop again through the link below: https://youtu.be/tNUWGfMm5N8 Human Asia will continue to conduct various human rights activities despite the social and economic turmoil caused by the spread of the COVID-19. We believe that when various actors actively collaborate and cooperate, we can tackle and overcome global crises altogether. Human Asia will continue to actively respond to the spread of the COVID-19 through various civil rights advocacy and protection measures for citizens in the near future. Currently, Human Asia is hosting our Activism Through Art: Unite Against Corona Online Event to bring people together and promote a sense of comradery in these times of uncertainty. The event is open to all and anyone. We hope that many people participate to restore a sense of social solidarity and trust, and overcome the COVID-19 crisis as soon as possible together. For more information on the event, please click the link below. Thank you. http://humanasia.org/?page_id=26015