South Korea


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South Korea Human Rights

Human Rights Concerns

Large protest rallies took place in 2016-2017 in response to a corruption scandal involving former President Park Geun-hye. She was removed from office in March 2017. Following the change of government, the Korean National Police Agency accepted recommendations for comprehensive reform that called for a change in the overall approach to policing assemblies so as to better respect freedom of peaceful assembly, although their full implementation remained pending at the end of the year. An increasing number of lower courts handed down decisions recognizing the right to conscientious objection. Discrimination against LGBTI people remained prevalent in public life, especially in the military. Arbitrary detention based on the vaguely worded National Security Law continued. A series of deaths of migrant workers raised concerns about safety in the workplace.

South Korea Newsroom



February 18, 2016 • Report

Amnesty International State of the World 2015-2016

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

February 25, 2015 • Report

State of the World 2014/2015

This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones. Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians. And yet the world's politicians have miserably failed to protect those in greatest need. Amnesty International believes that this can and must finally change.

October 19, 2014 • Report

Bitter Harvest: Exploitation and Forced Labor of Migrant Agricultural Workers in South Korea

The South Korean government must end the exploitation and widespread use of forced labour of migrant agricultural workers, Amnesty International said, as it published a new report that reveals how the country’s farming industry is rife with abuse. Bitter Harvest exposes the true face of South Korea’s Employment Permit System (EPS) that directly contributes to the serious exploitation of migrant agricultural workers. The government-run work scheme is designed to provide migrant labour to small and medium-sized enterprises that struggle to hire a sufficient number of national workers.

May 20, 2013 • Report

Annual Report: South Korea 2013

Republic of Korea Head of state Lee Myung-bak Head of government Kim Hwang-sik The National Security Law (NSL) was increasingly and arbitrarily used to curtail freedoms of association and expression. …

November 28, 2012 • Report

The National Security Law: Curtailing Freedom of Expression and Association in the Name of Security in the Republic of Korea

Since 2008, the South Korean authorities have increasingly used vaguely worded clauses of the NSL to arbitrarily target people or organizations perceived to oppose government policies.

June 20, 2011 • Report

Annual Report: South Korea 2011

Head of state: Lee Myung-bak Head of government: Kim Hwang-Sik (replaced Yoon Jeung-hyun Death penalty: abolitionist in practice Population: 48.5 million Life expectancy: 79.8 years Under-5 mortality (m/f): 6/6 per …

March 19, 2011 • Report

Annual Report: South Korea 2010

Head of state Lee Myung-bak (replaced Roh Moo-hyun in February) Head of government Chung Un-chan (replaced Han Seungsoo in September) Death penalty abolitionist in practice Population 48.3 million Life expectancy …

February 10, 2020 • Press Release

Explainer: Seven ways the coronavirus affects human rights

The outbreak of the coronavirus (2019-nCov) that started in the Chinese city of Wuhan (Hubei province) in late 2019 has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO). …

December 9, 2019 • Press Release

Generation Z Ranks Climate Change Highest as Vital Issue of our Time in Amnesty International Survey

Climate change leads as one of the most important issues facing the world, according to a major new survey of young people published by Amnesty International today to mark Human Rights Day.

July 11, 2019 • Press Release

Criminalization of Sex Between Men in Military in South Korea Fuels Violence, Abuse and Discrimination

Gay and trans soldiers in South Korea face violence, harassment and pervasive discrimination due to the criminalization of consensual sex between men in the military, Amnesty International said as it released a new report outlining why this unjust law must be abolished.