State Responsibility toward a Perpetual Minority: Amerasians in South Korea

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Onjung Yang


My paper analyses historical processes to explore socially constructed discrimination and inequality against Amerasians, who were born to Korean women from U.S. Army service personnel in U.S. Military Camp Town (hereafter ‘Gijichon’) around Korean War, in the perspective of Korean Government policies. I shall discuss the elements which influenced the development of the situation of Amerasian by analyzing various sources including in-depth interviews and documents from their community. The significant finding of this study is that Korean Government contributed greatly to the presence of Amerasian by promoting the sex trade in Gijichon. However, they were not recognised as Koreans under the Nationality Act and their presence was officially concealed. A number of them were adopted into families overseas under the government policy of promoting international adoption. Moreover, the government separated them from the mainstream society by establishing Honhyeolin (mixed-blood) school and legally exempting them from the military service. The situation of Amerasian is still fragile as they are excluded from unprecedented support systems for ethnic minorities reflecting structural violence according to Galtung’s theory (Galtung 1969) and therefore, special consideration from Korean government is required.

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