The Korea Herald


Racial discrimination complaints rise sharply

By 이종민

Published : July 26, 2011 - 19:47

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The number of petitions against racial and religious discrimination doubled last year from five years earlier.

The National Human Rights Commission said Tuesday that it received 64 complaints in 2010 regarding discrimination based on race, religion, nationality, ethnicity and skin color, doubling from the 32 cases filed in 2005.

The increasing reports of discrimination have drawn attention as more and more foreigners seek work in Korea. There are a total 1.26 million people with an international background in Korea, making up 2.9 percent of the population.

Other reports say that an inflow of migrant workers have resulted in the expat population boom. Many find work in low-paying blue collar positions or immigrate as brides.

The issue of multiculturalism has recently drawn attention as confessed Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik was an opponent of multiculturalism and cited Korea and Japan as model countries.

Meanwhile, the number of children with international background, who are six and younger, surged 46.1 percent this year from 64,040 in 2009 to 93,537 in January.

The number of total international minors who are 18 and younger also jumped by 43,465 during the same period from 107,689 to 151,154.

Children under age 6 with international backgrounds take up roughly 2.9 percent of the population of Korean children, according to a census on foreigners here by the Ministry of Public Administration and Safety on Tuesday.

As of January, 2011, there are 93,537 children from foreign or multicultural backgrounds living here. In that age group the proportion is four percentage points higher than the overall proportion of people with a foreign background in the Korean population.

The 1,265,006 total foreign residents include migrant workers and wives, students, naturalized citizens and children of international marriages.

There are 17,304 multicultural children who are 1-year-old, 15,584 children who are 3, and 7,995 who are 6-years-old.

Those with Vietnamese parents make up the greatest chunk at 29,997, with Chinese close behind at 20,418 and Filipinos at 8,466 people. Also included in the list are Japanese, Cambodian, Mongolian and Thai.

By Robert Lee (