South Korea's rights watchdog said Tuesday it has asked a court to overrule a government decision to deport a foreign worker infected with HIV.
The national human rights commission said in a letter to the Seoul administrative court last week that the move would violate human rights.
The 34-year-old Chinese national, whose mother is Korean, came here last year to apply for permanent residency. But he was ordered by the immigration office to leave after testing HIV-positive.
The man from Jilin province has since filed a lawsuit against the deportation order.
"It is unfair to order a foreign resident to leave the country simply because of the HIV infection," the commission said in a statement.
"The deportation would infringe on the plaintiff's rights to live as a foreigner in the country and not to be discriminated against by illness."
The commission also warned that deportation to China where "HIV-infected people are segregated and their human rights conditions are poor" could put his health at risk.
It said South Korea, where his mother and other relatives live, could provide better treatment and that the virus which causes AIDS is not passed on through casual human contact.
The rights commission's recommendations are not legally binding but government agencies are asked to take them into account. The court ruling is due on March 19.