The National Human Rights Commission said Monday it asked the chief of the Daejeon Immigration Office to take precautions against an official at an investigation department for "forcing" a Chinese national to submit a statement apologizing for driving under the influence.
According to the NHRC, a Chinese national with an F-5 visa or a permanent residency visa was told to write a statement when the person visited the immigration office to get the registration card reissued in November 2021.
The person later filed a petition with the National Human Rights Commission.
The Chinese national reportedly wrote in the statement that the person would “deeply reflect (on the past wrongdoing)” and “abide by the law in the future” in the statement. The committee said it has also found eight other documents written by foreigners facing deportation that included words like “very sorry,” “forgiveness” and “reflect.”
The immigration official rebutted the claim, saying the statement was for checking facts, not to force the Chinese national to reflect on the past. The Chinese national was fined 6 million won for drunk driving.
The human right committee, however, concluded that the immigration official's request to write the statement of apology was an act of violating basic human rights, saying the official was forcing something not obligatory.
“Freedom of conscience is the freedom not to be forced to verbalize or refrain from expressing one’s conscience, as well as matters related to reaching an inner conviction of what’s right or wrong based on one’s judgment,” it said.