South Korea urged to sign International Migration Convention

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Requests have been made to the South Korean government to sign the international migration convention that would provide greater protection for migrants.

An event was held in Seoul by the International Conference on Foreigners Welfare (ICFW) on December 18; this is the same day as International Migrants Day. The attendees urged the government to sign the International Migration Convention; a United Nations article whose primary objective is the protection of migrant workers and their families (through the enforcement of basic human rights).

'Forty-five countries have signed the convention on the rights of migrants and their families and we would request that South Korea sign the national convention too,' said Syed Nasir Ershad, charge d' affaires at the Embassy of Bangladesh in Seoul.

In order to highlight to the government the importance of migrant workers, plans are being made to mark International Migrants Day 2012 with a big celebration. The organisers are looking to start with a parade in Seoul city, before moving onto a discussion program at Seoul Plaza.

Although immigrants have largely positive experiences in South Korea, the ICFW want to ensure that migrants are given more legislative protection (fair pay, good living conditions).

Shin Kwang-yul, chairman of the ICFW was optimistic about staging next year's event.

'The 2012 International Migrants Day will be a very good chance to know each other,' he said. 'My opinion is that we can be exchanging opinions and experiences. We can come together to make up that policy that we can post everywhere. It will be very helpful.'

Raja Ram Bartaula, of the Nepali embassy, said Korea's ratification of the International Migration Convention was necessary as host countries, such as Korea need to do more for their migrant workers.

'They (immigrants) are supporting the national development of where they are working. These are important topics worth celebrating.'

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