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Korea’s foreigners-only HIV test violated New Zealand teacher’s rights: UN experts

Korea’s foreigners-only HIV test violated New Zealand teacher’s rights: UN experts

India Blooms News Service | | 21 May 2015, 09:26 am
New York, May 21 (IBNS): A New Zealand woman’s rights were violated when her employers in the Republic of Korea demanded that, as a foreign English teacher, she undergo HIV/AIDS and drug tests as a condition of having her contract renewed, United Nations experts have found.

The Geneva-based Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) was considering the case of the woman, whose contract was not renewed in 2009 after she refused to undergo a secondary mandatory HIV test required only of foreigners, arguing it was “discriminatory and an affront to her dignity.”

In a statement released by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Wednesday, CERD members noted that the Republic of Korea did not provide any reasons to justify the mandatory testing, from which Korean and ethnic Korean teachers were exempt.

They also noted that, during arbitration proceedings, the woman’s employers, the Uslan Metropolitan Office of Education (UMOE), said that HIV/AIDS tests were viewed as a means to check the values and morality of foreign English teachers.

The testing policy, the Committee wrote in its findings, “does not appear to be justified on public health grounds or any other ground, and is a breach of the right to work without distinction to race, colour, national or ethnic origin.”

The Committee called on the Republic of Korea to grant the woman adequate compensation for the moral and material damages she suffered.

The Committee also urged the authorities to take steps to review regulations and policies related to the employment of foreigners and to abolish, in law and in practice, any legislation which creates or perpetuates racial discrimination.

“The Committee recommends the State party to counter any manifestations of xenophobia, through stereotyping or stigmatizing, of foreigners by public officials, the media and the public at large,” members wrote.

The Committee has asked the Republic of Korea to inform it within 90 days of the steps it has taken.

In its submission to the Committee, the Republic of Korea said that, since 2010, its guidelines on the employment of foreign teachers do not specify that they have to submit results of HIV/AIDS and drugs tests to have their contracts renewed, and that mandatory testing is no longer required by the UMOE.

Photo: FAO

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm