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Korea explores new birth registration policy for non-Korean babies

Justice Minister Park Bum-gye, speaks at the third video conference of the 16th Ministry of Justice’s Policy Committee. (Ministry of Justice)
Justice Minister Park Bum-gye, speaks at the third video conference of the 16th Ministry of Justice’s Policy Committee. (Ministry of Justice)
The Ministry of Justice is accelerating its efforts to implement a birth registration system for non-Korean children born in South Korea, in a bid to provide legal status to newborns, regardless of their parents’ social and legal status.

On Monday, the ministry held a policy committee meeting and deliberated on introducing a “foreign child birth registration system.”

As the current system is riddled with problems, the ministry has been pushing for the enactment of a special law that would allow children born to non-Korean nationals or their parents to register their births and have certificates issued.

According to the Ministry of Justice, there are an estimated 20,000 unregistered foreign children in Korea.

Foreign parents are unable to register births if they are not legally resident in Korea, depriving the children of legal status. This means they are unable to receive medical and educational benefits from the government, and puts them at risk of child abuse and human trafficking.

According to reports provided by the ministry, not only Britain and Germany, but also Thailand and Vietnam, are running birth registration systems for foreign children, regarding it as a basic legal protection.

Justice Minister Park Beom-gye said during the committee meeting, “We need concrete discussions to prevent foreign children from being left unattended in human rights blind spots.”

By Kim Hae-yeon (hykim@heraldcorp.com)
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