Forum tackles overseas marriages
▶ Bae Ki-chul, the president of the Korea League Association of International Families, second from left. By Chang Young-soo
Over 100 Korean women who left the country after marrying foreigners have came back to speak out against the bias that some Koreans have toward international marriage.
The first National Convention for Interracial Marriage Women took place from Oct. 17th to 20th at Seoul Women’s Plaza, organized by multiple non-governmental organizations, including the Korean-American Women’s Association USA; Anakdle, a non-governmental organization for unemployed single mothers, and the National Association of Intercultural Family Missions.
Nearly 300,000 Korean women are married to foreigners and live abroad, according to Choi Hye-rin, an organizer of the event from Anakdle. About 70 percent of the women live in the United States.
“We planned this event to create collective power to improve Korean’s view toward international marriage,” said Seo Jin-ok, the chief organizer of the convention.
The history of Korean international marriage goes back to the Korean War, when UN troops from 16 countries came to Korea. Most of the early international marriages were between U.S. soldiers and Korean women who worked in U.S. military bases or were military prostitutes in camp towns. This unglamorous beginning for international marriages has resulted in a serious stigma toward Korean women who marry non-Koreans.
In consideration of the issue of mixed-blood children, the convention provided a discussion session with mixed-blood people in Korea on Oct. 20, the last day of the convention. The session, held at the Seoul Women’s Center, offered people a chance to talk about the prejudice they encounter due to their ancestry.
During the discussion, Bae Ki-chul, the president of Korea League Association of International Family, whose father was Italian soldier visiting Korea during Korean War, said the Korean government should pay attention to the human right of mixed-blood people living in the country.
by Kim Soe-jung