S. Korea adopts measures to prevent rights violations at detention centers for illegal immigrants

SEOUL-- South Korea has come up with a set of measures to strengthen human rights protection at detention centers for illegal immigrants, including adopting a supervisor in charge of overseeing possible violations, officials said Wednesday.

The justice ministry issued a public notice on its push for a partial revision of laws and regulations governing the procedure of detaining illegal immigrants and the use of protective gear for foreigners under custody.

The move comes after a ministry investigation showed that a Moroccan man was mistreated while being detained at a solitary room of an immigration processing center in Hwaseong, about 40 kilometers south of Seoul, last June.

Under the revision, the ministry will adopt a system to install a commissioner to investigate possible rights violations and report such violations to superiors.

Also, a rope will not be used while detaining illegal immigrants, the ministry said. Protective ankle gear, helmets and chairs were newly added to the list of protective gear.

The revision also clearly states that such protective gear cannot be used for the purpose of punishment, officials said.

Also, the revision states the period that an inmate is put under solitary confinement should be limited to a maximum of 72 hours, with the possibility of extending the period one more time.

The justice minister also must review an inmate's formal objection to such solitary confinement orders, and possibly lift the order after reviewing the case, officials said.

The inmate from Morocco in his 30s filed a petition with the national human rights watchdog, claiming he was maltreated. Surveillance footage showed he was kept with his hands tied for more than four hours, wearing headgear and tied with box tape and cable ties.

Source: Yonhap News Agency