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ACT ON INTER-KOREAN CONFIRMATION OF THE LIFE OR DEATH OF SEPARATED FAMILIES AND PROMOTION OF EXCHANGE

Act No. 9519, Mar. 25, 2009

Amended by Act No. 11775, May 22, 2013

 Article 1 (Purpose)
The purpose of this Act is to relieve the pain of separation and to contribute to inter-Korean unity by prescribing matters necessary for ascertaining the life or death of, and the promotion of exchange between, inter-Korean separated families.
 Article 2 (Definitions)
The definitions of terms used in this Act shall be as follows:
1. The term "inter-Korean separated families" means those who are relatives and relatives by marriage within the eighth degree of consanguinity, and who are or were a spouse dispersed in areas south of the Military Demarcation Line (hereinafter referred to as "South Korea") and areas north of the Military Demarcation Line (hereinafter referred to as "North Korea") at present, irrespective of reasons and circumstances of separation;
2. The term "exchange between inter-Korean separated families" means all contact and activities for such contact made between inter-Korean separated families, irrespective of methods, such as letters, telephone, correspondence, visits, meeting arrangements, reunion, etc.
 Article 3 (Relationships with other Acts)
Unless otherwise expressly provided for in other Acts, this Act shall preferentially apply to inter-Korean separated families.
 Article 4 (Responsibility of the State)
(1) The State shall provide legal and institutional strategies and formulate and execute necessary policies for ascertaining the life or death, and the promotion of exchanges, of inter-Korean separated families.
(2) The State shall adopt expeditious and effective measures for ascertaining the life or death, and increasing exchanges between, inter-Korean separated families.
(3) The State shall endeavor to increase exchanges between inter-Korean separated families through inter-Korean talks.
 Article 5 (Master Plans for Promotion of Exchange between Inter-Korean Separated Families)
(1) The Minister of Unification shall formulate and execute a master plan for the promotion of exchanges between inter-Korean separated families every three years (hereinafter referred to as "master plan") in consultation with the heads of the relevant central administrative agencies.
(2) A master plan shall include the following matters:
1. Research on the actual conditions, such as the present status of inter-Korean separated families, etc., and information management;
2. A plan for ascertaining the life or death of inter-Korean separated families, correspondence between such families, increasing the scale of the reunion and diversification of methods of the reunion;
3. Non-governmental support for exchange activities between inter-Korean separated families;
4. Urgent measures against the aging of inter-Korean separated families;
5. Other matters necessary for the promotion of exchanges between inter-Korean separated families.
(3) The Minister of Unification shall provide annual progress report based on a master plan through consultation with the heads of the relevant central administrative agencies to the National Assembly every year.
 Article 6 (Research on Actual Conditions and Information Management)
(1) The Minister of Unification shall conduct research on the actual conditions concerning the present status and exchanges between inter-Korean separated families, etc. to ascertain the life or death and to promote exchanges of inter-Korean separated families.
(2) The Minister of Unification shall establish an integrated information management system of separated families to collect data on inter-Korean separated families and to efficiently manage and use such data.
(3) The Minister of Unification may request the head of an agency directing and supervising resident registration affairs or the head of an agency entrusted with the direction and supervision thereof under the Resident Registration Act (hereinafter referred to as "head of an agency supervising resident registration affairs") to produce computerized information and data of resident registration, if necessary for locating separated families.
(4) Except in extenuating circumstances, the head of an agency supervising resident registration affairs who has received a request under paragraph (3) shall provide the Minister of Unification with computerized information and data of resident registration.
(5) Other matters necessary for methods and formalities of conducting research on the actual conditions of inter-Korean separated families and the integrated information management on separated families shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree.
 Article 7 (Application for Locating Separated Families)
(1) Where a separated family in South Korea intends to locate a family in North Korea, he/she shall file an application with the Minister of Unification.
(2) The Minister of Unification shall inform a person ascertained as a member of an inter-Korean separated family as a result of research on actual conditions conducted under Article 6 of necessary matters, such as a method of filing an application for locating separated families, etc.
(3) Other necessary matters concerning an application for locating separated families shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree.
 Article 8 (Ascertaining of Life or Death and Whereabouts)
(1) The Minister of Unification shall endeavor to actualize the ascertaining of life or death and whereabouts of inter-Korean separated families.
(2) Where the Minister of Unifications receives an application under Article 7, he/she shall notify the applicant of the result of the ascertaining of life or death and whereabouts.
 Article 8-2 (Genetic Testing)
(1) Where inter-Korean separated families file an application to determine the family relationship between them, the Minister of Unification may conduct genetic testing with the written consent of those subject to testing pursuant to Article 51 of the Bioethics and Safety Act.
(2) Where the Minister of Unification has conducted genetic testing under paragraph (1), he/she shall establish a biobank and store and keep data, including the results of genetic testing, in the biobank pursuant to Article 41 (1) or (2) of the Bioethics and Safety Act.
(3) Where data including the results of genetic testing are stored and kept pursuant to paragraph (2), personal information and information other than matters necessary for personal identification shall not be included in the data.
(4) No person who has been engaged in genetic testing shall divulge or make fraudulent use of confidential information, such as personal information, which he/she has learned in the course of performing his/her duties.
(5) The Minister of Unification may entrust affairs concerning genetic testing to an institution specializing in genetic testing, as prescribed by Presidential Decree.
(6) Matters necessary for the procedures for conducting and applying for genetic testing, and the storage and maintenance of data referred to in paragraphs (1) through (3) shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree.
[This Article Newly Inserted by Act No. 11775, May 22, 2013]
 Article 9 (Promotion of Exchanges between Inter-Korean Separated Families)
(1) The Minister of Unification shall consult with the heads of the relevant administrative agencies and the North Korean authorities to ensure that inter-Korean separated families are allowed free correspondence and telephone conversation between each other.
(2) The Minister of Unification shall consult with the North Korean authorities to hold functions for reunion of inter-Korean separated families on a regular basis and to increase the attendees of such functions.
(3) The Minister of Unification shall establish and operate a place for meeting for inter-Korean separated families to reunite, in consultation with North Korean authorities.
(4) Where an immediate family or spouse dies or is in a critical condition, or corresponding grounds exist, the Minister of Unification shall endeavor to ensure that the person concerned is allowed to pay an urgent visit on his/her application.
(5) The Minister of Unification shall simplify administrative formalities necessary for exchanges between inter-Korean separated families within the scope of the relevant statutes.
(6) Matters necessary for establishing and operating a meeting place for separated families under paragraph (3) shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree.
 Article 10 (Aid to North Korea)
(1) The Minister of Unification may aid North Korea with goods and money for expenses incurred in conducting investigation on the actual conditions, ascertaining the life or death of, and locating inter-Korean separated families.
(2) Matters necessary for methods and formalities of providing aid to North Korea under paragraph (1) shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree.
(3) Where the Minister of Unification provides aid under paragraph (1), he/she shall file a prior or post report thereon to the National Assembly, as prescribed by Presidential Decree.
 Article 11 (Subsidization of Expenses for Non-Governmental Exchange)
(1) The Minister of Unification may subsidize all or some of expenses incurred in non-governmental activities for exchanges between inter-Korean separated families (hereinafter referred to as "expenses for non-governmental exchange") to promote exchanges between inter-Korean separated families.
(2) Requirements and formalities for subsidization of expenses for non-government exchange, the amount thereof, and other necessary matters shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree.
 Article 12 (Subsidization for Organizations for Exchanges between Separated Families)
(1) The Minister of Unification may subsidize all or some of working expenses and operating expenses to a non-governmental organization related to exchanges between inter-Korean separated families (hereinafter referred to as "organization for exchanges between separated families").
(2) Requirements and formalities for subsidization for an organization for exchanges between separated families, the amount thereof, and other necessary matters shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree.
 Article 13 (Entrustment of Affairs)
The Minister of Unification may entrust part of his/her affairs under this Act to organizations related to inter-Korean separated families, such as the Korean Red Cross, etc., as prescribed by Presidential Decree.
 Article 14 (Legal Fiction as Public Officials in Application of Penalty Provisions)
The executive officers and employees of institutions specializing in genetic testing which are engaged in the business affairs entrusted by the Minister of Unification pursuant to Article 8-2 (5) and organizations related to inter-Korean separated families, such as the Korean Red Cross, which are engaged in affairs entrusted pursuant to Article 13 shall be deemed public officials in the application of the penalty provisions under the provisions of Articles 129 through 132 of the Criminal Act. <Amended by Act No. 11775, May 22, 2013>
 Article 15 (Cooperation with Relevant Agencies)
If necessary for promoting the exchanges between inter-Korean separated families, the Minister of Unification may request the heads of the relevant agencies to cooperate with him/her, and the heads of the relevant agencies who receive a request for cooperation shall comply therewith, except in extenuating circumstances.
 Article 16 (Penalty Provisions)
A person who does any of the following acts by fraud or other improper means shall be punished by imprisonment with labor for not more than three years or by a fine not exceeding ten million won:
1. Where he/she receives a subsidy for expenses for non-governmental exchange under Article 11;
2. Where he/she receives a subsidy for an organization for exchanges between separated families under Article 12.
 Article 17 (Penalty Provisions)
Any person who divulges or makes fraudulent use of confidential information in violation of Article 8-2 (4) shall be punished by imprisonment with labor for not more than three years.
[This Article Newly Inserted by Act No. 11775, May 22, 2013]
ADDENDA
(1) (Enforcement Date) This Act shall enter into force six months after the date of its promulgation.
(2) (Transitional Measures) A person who has filed an application for the reunion of separated families with the Ministry of Unification before this Act enters into force shall be deemed filed an application under Article 7 (1).
ADDENDUM <Act No. 11775, May 22, 2013>
This Act shall enter into force six months after the date of its promulgation.