[한겨레] 한국인들은 모르는 ‘주한 외국인 차별’
몸 불편한데 국적타령? 장애인 등록증은 ‘그림의 떡’
왕은미(35·여)씨는 한국에 사는 화교다. 일본에서 8년 동안 공부를 하고 한달 전 다시 돌아왔다. 그새 한국은 인터넷 강국이 됐다. 편할 줄 알았는데 웬걸. 외국인에게는 불편하기 짝이 없다. 텔레비전 방송 다시보기를 하거나 인터넷 서점·쇼핑몰에 들어가려면 주민등록번호를 요구한다. 외국인 등록번호를 받는 곳도 신분증 사본을 요구하는 등 절차가 까다롭다. 그는 “한국방송 사이트에 가입할 때는 1시간 넘게 컴퓨터와 ‘투쟁’을 했다”고 한다. 급하면 급한 대로. “화교들 가운데는 한국 친구의 주민등록번호를 빌려 이용하는 이들도 많다”고 한다.몸 불편한데 국적타령? 장애인 등록증은 ‘그림의 떡’
한국에 사는 외국인 장애인들은 휠체어가 그려진 ‘장애인 전용 주차장’에 차를 세우지 못한다. 장애인 등록증이 없기 때문이다. 재미있는 건 장애인 차량 스티커는 발급해준다는 사실이다. 그걸 믿고 차를 세웠다가 장애인 등록증을 요구하는 바람에 벌금을 내는 경우도 있다고 한다. 주려면 모두 줄 것이지, 이런 ‘눈 가리고 아웅’이 없다. 역시나 국적 탓이다. 보건복지부 쪽은 “한국 국적을 가진 장애인에게만 장애인 등록증을 발급한다”고 한다. 이런, 몸이 불편하다는데 도와주지는 못할망정 국적 타령이라니.시걸씨와 왕씨, 희망제작소는 30일 국가인권위원회에 이런 차별 사례를 진정하고 직권조사를 요청했다. 김남일 기자 email@example.com
기사등록 : 2007-05-31 오전 11:45:37
In Riding Subways, Opening Web Sites and Getting License
By Kim Tae-jong
Paul Segall, 80, is an American citizen, who has been living in Seoul for over 40 years. He believes he has paid taxes and fulfilled other duties just like Korean people. But like many other foreign residents, he finds it unfair that he is not allowed to get a free subway ticket as a native senior resident in the same way his Korean wife is.
He sent a letter to a civic group calling for ending discrimination against foreigners. Believing his argument is well grounded, the Hope Institute Wednesday filed a petition to the National Human Rights Commission, demanding both Korean and legal foreign residents be given the same treatment.
“When you live here for over one year, you have to pay taxes even if you’re a foreigner,’’ Jung Kee-yun, a researcher at the institute, said. “So you have the right to fair treatment regardless of your nationality, and it’s not only unfair treatment but also discrimination.’’
She said that many other countries offer discounts and other benefits to seniors if they reach a certain age, regardless of their nationalities even if they are just one-day travelers.
According to the current law, those aged over 65 can take a free subway ticket and receive a monthly subsidy for traffic expenses from a district office, but foreigners are excluded from any of these benefits.
The Seoul Metro said that they can only give a free subway ticket to Korean seniors on the grounds that the related law for the welfare of senior citizens defines “senior’’ as those with Korean nationality aged 65 or older.
“To treat them like other Korean senior citizens, the related law should be first changed,’’ an official from the Seoul Metro said, emphasizing that only Koreans can get such benefits because of the law.
But the irony is that foreign students can get a discount after they register their alien registration card number on an official Web site dealing with transportation cards.
The civic group claimed that foreigners here experience discrimination. They are unable to get certification as being handicapped or to register a Web site due to not having a residents card.
“The Ministry of Health and Welfare only issues certification as being handicapped to Korean citizens, which allows them to have benefits such as tax reductions and discounts, but the non-Korean handicapped cannot receive the same treatment just because of their nationality,’’ Jung said.
“Another noticeable discrimination is that foreigners are often asked for their resident registration number when they want to log onto Web sites, which makes it harder to get access to information,’’ she said.
The group plans to file a petition to the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Information and Communication to eliminate lingering discrimination against legal foreign residents.
According to the latest data available, there are 180,000 registered foreigners in Seoul alone, and about 7,000 of them, or 3.8 percent, are aged 65 or older.
A Seoul City desk for foreigners said that in line with the rise of foreigners living here there are increasing complaints about unfair treatment toward them. She acknowledged that there is no government agency that can give them firsthand assistance in such matters.
“Depending on each case, foreigners are advised to seek help from the relevant department concerned,’’ she added.
She and other officials said they are aware of the lack of both central and provincial governments agencies to address justifiable foreign complaints. But at this stage, there is no formal mechanism for the government to deal with such cases, they said.