A group of human rights lawyers plan to file a petition with the Constitutional Court against what they call discriminatory visa rules that require foreign English teachers to submit documents on health checks and criminal records.
Chang Suh-yeon, an attorney with the Korean Public Interest Lawyers Group ``Gong-Gam,'' told The Korea Times Tuesday that her group will take the issue to the court this week or next.
``The visa law violated the Constitution that guarantees a basic right to freedom, equal treatment, the pursuit of happiness and the protection of privacy,'' Chang said.
``The visa law is based on vague prejudice and bias that foreign English teachers have disordered sex lives and use drugs,'' she added.
I have to wonder why people are talking to the Times when, after reviewing my notes and old posts, they've been far-and-away the English-language outlet that's been the most guilty of spreading this prejudice and bias in its reporting. I'll draw your attention to this paragraph
E-2 visa holders have contended that the government should apply the same visa screening rules to foreign English teachers holding other visas, urging the government to use the same restrictions on teachers holding E-1 (professorship), F-2 (spouse of a Korean) or F-4 (ethnic Korean) visas. They made it clear that they don't oppose background checks as a rule.
and remind readers that this paper and this writer, Kang Shin-woo, have made the same distortion twice before, including, as Gusts of Popular Feeling has pointed out, inventing quotations from Professor Benjamin Wagner.
The article doesn't say what, exactly, "the issue" is and what the lawyer and the professor are fighting against. Instead it looks like a bunch of different issues are being conflated here, and gives the impression that teachers are objecting to criminal background checks, or to health exams in general. The professor in question, as you'll see when you scroll down, submitted a background check, but objected to the HIV test. Another excerpt:
In response, the ministry says that a visa policy is a country's own right and foreign nationals are not entitled to complain about it. ``We believe the human rights agency is well aware of this fact and will take sides with us,'' said Ahn Kyu-seok, a ministry official.
Well, I get Ahn's point, and that a country ultimately has the right to accept or reject whomever it pleases. However, I hope the human rights agency doesn't rule against groups for, um, "complaining." For more on the case in question, see my original write-up from March. An excerpt from a KT article back then:
Instead of producing documents showing HIV/AIDS and drug test results, [the professor] gave an immigration officer a letter.
It reads: ``Unfortunately, I will not be submitting the HIV/ AIDS test results or the tuberculosis drug test results that you have requested. These tests unreasonably discriminate against me as a foreigner living in Korea and are a violation of my human rights.''
In the letter, she also said that she has lived and worked in Korea for more than three years and does not understand why she is suddenly suspected of being a danger to Korean society.
``I have done nothing wrong, and yet the Korea Immigration Service wants to search my body. This is an invasion of my most private and personal rights and an affront to my human dignity,'' she said.
Give the NHRCK report referenced in the initial article a read, if you haven't already. Interestingly, it looks like a follower of this blog is going through a similar headache with these HIV and drug tests.