South Korea blasted over teacher HIV test

Published:  21 May at 6 PM
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Members of the UN rights team have criticised South Korea for insisting that an expat teacher from New Zealand had to have an HIV test prior to her teaching contract being renewed.

The woman, Lisa Griffin, was refused the chance to have her teaching contract renewed in 2009 because she said she would not undergo the test on the grounds that it was discriminatory as her Korean counterparts did not have to do the same.

The Uslan Metropolitan Office of Education, Griffin’s employers, had claimed the HIV/AIDS tests were considered as a way of checking the “morality and values” of foreign English teachers, according to the UN.

People from other countries who go to South Korea to work in a number of sectors have long since been required show criminal background checks and undergo drug tests; however, South Korean nationals do not have to complete such procedures.

Meanwhile, the country abandoned its HIV/AIDS testing regulations for foreign teachers of English in 2010.

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said such testing was unjustified on public health grounds, as well as any other ground, and went against the right to be employed without distinction to national or ethnic origin, race or colour.

The Geneva-based committee urged South Korea to offer Griffin adequate compensation to make up for the material and moral damages suffered.
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