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Korean lawmakers, foreign diplomats launch pro-diversity campaign in Korea

March 29, 2023 - 16:21 By Jung Min-kyung
Participants pose for a group photo during a ceremony to mark the launch of the “Respect for Multicultural Families and All Ethnic Groups in Korea" campaign, held at the National Assembly in Seoul on Monday. Among those pictured are: (front row, from the fifth from left to the right) Brazilian Ambassador to South Korea Marcia Donner Abreu; People Power Party Rep. Kim Tae-ho; Seoul Foreign School students Lim Tae-rin and Min Ha-rin; Sunfull Foundation Chairman Min Byoung-chul; and PPP Reps Youn Kwan-suk and Suh Jung-sook. (Sunfull Foundation)

Seven South Korean lawmakers, 25 diplomats and 15 envoys from 40 different countries as well as a Seoul-based civic group have joined forces to launch a pro-diversity campaign, calling for the equal treatment of multicultural families and diverse ethnic groups here, officials said on March 28.

According to the Sunfull Foundation, which has been campaigning against online hate speech and cyber bullying and is now leading a movement called, “Respect for Multicultural Families and All Ethnic Groups in Korea," it aims to raise awareness of the importance of understanding and respecting multicultural families and residents of foreign nationality who live here.

It also plans to shed light on the positive roles that multicultural families and foreign national residents play in South Korean society and address key challenges they face living here.

The launch ceremony was held March 27 at the National Assembly in Seoul. Among the attendees was Democratic Party of Korea Rep. Hong Ihk-pyo, chair of the parliament's Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee.

“In this situation in which (Korea's) multicultural society is rapidly progressing, the Sunfull Foundation's campaign will serve as an opportunity to improve the reality of insufficient understanding and respect for multiculturalism,” he said.

People Power Party Rep. Hong Seok-joon, who is part of the campaign's steering committee, said, “We will push for easing regulations such as improving employment conditions so that foreign students can get jobs in Korea more easily after graduation.”

People Power Party Rep. Kim Tae-ho, chair of the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs & Unification Committee, highlighted the importance of raising awareness and understanding of the difficulties multicultural families and foreign national residents face living in Korea. The aim of this campaign is to develop a comprehensive understanding of diversity and the dynamics between Korean and foreign national residents, and to promote a healthy society that respects life and human rights for all, he said.

Lee Hyeong-se, director general for foreign affairs at the Korean National Police Agency, pointed to the efforts of the Korean police in providing crime prevention classes, support shelters and victim support for foreign national residents of Korea. He also assured continued efforts to ensure the safe settlement of foreign nationals in Korea. He attended the launch ceremony on behalf of NPA Commissioner General Yoon Hee-keun.

Ambassador Theresa Dizon-De Vega of the Philippines said, “the Philippines supports this campaign and we hope that the Korean National Assembly continues to review and draft new laws to respond to both the challenges and the opportunities offered by a more diverse society. ... There will be platforms and channels for these students and academics to further hone their skills, conduct cutting-edge research and contribute to innovation in both Korea, their home countries and in the rest of the world.”

Ambassador Nguyen Vu Tung of Vietnam stressed that the campaign is "important for the Vietnamese community in Korea, as well as for Korean communities in Vietnam." He said the campaign will strengthen the relations between other countries and Korea.

Ambassador Amit Kumar of India said, "There’s no space for divisions or distinctions based on one's identity or background and supports the sentiment that we are all the same at our core." He highlighted the importance of recognizing multiculturalism while advancing equity and inclusion in the government, parliament, private sector and civil society.

Ambassador Federico Failla of Italy congratulated the Sunfull Committee and stressed the importance of accepting differences for mutual respect to be a fundamental value in society.

The Counselor of China to Korea, Yu Bing offered congratulations on the launch of the campaign and emphasized the importance of respect for immigration and multiculturalism for national and social modernization, while also highlighting the contribution of foreign nationals, including 800,000 Chinese, to the economic and social development of Korea. He spoke on behalf of Ambassador Xing Haiming.

Sunfull Foundation, headed by Min Byoung-chul, an endowed chair professor at Chung-Ang University's Business School and multicultural educator, has been running a campaign since 2007 that seeks to put an end to cyber-bullying, hate speech and human rights violations online.