It has emerged that prosecutors have been collecting DNA samples from workers convicted of engaging in strikes and other activities. The practice, which currently targets workers who took part in a Ssangyong Motor strike and occupation of Daelim Motor, has reportedly been taking place at district prosecutor’s offices across the country since March. Not only does this have strong elements of a human rights violation, but it is an immoderate application of the law that could potentially curtail labor movement activity. It should be immediately halted.
The legal basis for collecting DNA is the Act on the Use and Protection of DNA Identification, the so-called “DNA Act.” Enacted in July 2010, this act allows the collection and storage of DNA from suspects in eleven cases of crime, including child molestation, rape, and drug crimes, in order to allow for efficient investigation of habitual and heinous crimes. The scope of those subjected to DNA collection also includes suspects in acts of violence, home invasion, and property damage as stipulated in the Punishment of Violence, etc. Act. The attitude of the prosecutors is that with this basis, there is no problem whatsoever with collecting DNA from striking workers punished under the latter act.