Social Rights of Non-Nationals and Constitutional Values in a Diverse Society

In 2017, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recalled that all people, including asylum-seekers and refugees, as well as other migrants, under the jurisdiction of the State concerned should enjoy the Covenant rights. This statement was adopted against the backdrop of large movements of refugees and migrants and many barriers for them to access to public health care, adequate housing, education, and essential social security. With the influx of migrants and refugees, South Korea has also become an increasingly multi-ethnic society. However, only nationals are entitled to social rights in the constitution. Even progressives are divided in the constitutional amendment debate about whether the guarantee of social rights should be extended, in principle, to all residing in the territory. This paper discusses that Korea needs to revisit its Constitutional values in multi-ethnic society, with a view to enhancing solidarity with inclusion.