Korean Human Rights Commission investigates internet racism

Original article in Korean is here.

“Those people smell just like armpits.” “Those people commit a lot of rape, don’t they?” “There’s no way to know who’s an illegal.”

A picture of black people taking food after a flood was titled “looting?” while a photo of white people doing the same was titled “stockpiling food”.

The National Human Rights Commission (국가인권위원회) announced on October 1 that these are examples of racial discrimination.

The Commission announced that in September it had a team of university students monitor the internet for instances of racial discrimination, defined as expressions of contempt, hatred, or persecution on the basis of race, skin color, and country of origin, in photos, videos, comments, and blog posts.

The monitoring team consisted of 10 university and graduate students familiar with the use of the internet, who each found 20 instances of discrimination published in their report.

This is the first attempt by a government agency to keep track of the level of racial discrimination and monitor racism.

The monitoring was carried out to survey the situation of racism in Korean society, which is preparing for multiculturalism, and investigate ways to systematically ameliorate the stuation.

The Commission also investigated instances on the internet of people insulting immigrant wives, Korean women who marry foreign men, and foreign laborers.

The report did not include messages delivered through instant messaging, where an e-mail address is unknown.

The Commission plans to investigate whether some of the expressions may have violated the law.

An official with the Commission said, “we plan to investigate whether systematic reforms are necessary after grasping the situation in cyberspace of expressions of racism that violate human rights, how serious they are, and their relationship to current law.”