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



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.

February 5, 2019 • Press Release

Yemen: UAE recklessly supplying militias with windfall of Western arms

An open source investigation published by Amnesty International today highlights a growing danger in Yemen’s conflict as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) recklessly arms militias with a range of advanced weaponry. The investigation, “When arms go astray: Yemen’s deadly new threat of arms diversion to militias,” shows how the UAE has become a major conduit …

April 27, 2018 • Press Release

Korea peace talks: A missed opportunity for human rights

Responding to the joint declaration following talks between the leaders of North and South Korea at Panmunjeom, Amnesty International’s East Asia Researcher Arnold Fang said: “The declaration should be viewed with cautious optimism, but the near-total absence of human rights from today’s agenda was a missed opportunity.” “These are unprecedented talks but governments must not …

October 28, 2016 • Press Release

South Korea: Stop criminalization of abortion

The South Korean government must withdraw proposed rules that would increase the penalty for doctors who perform illegal abortions, said Amnesty International, ahead of mass demonstrations planned by women’s rights groups on 29 October. On 23 September, the Ministry of Health and Welfare announced a revision of a rule on “inappropriate medical practices” that could …

July 4, 2016 • Press Release

South Korea: Five year sentence against union leader a chilling blow to peaceful protest

The five-year prison sentence handed down to a prominent union leader is the latest example of how the government is galvanising its attack on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly in South Korea, Amnesty International said today.

February 22, 2016 • Press Release

Amnesty International’s Annual State of the World Report Slams Governments, Including the U.S., for Global Assault on Freedoms

On the launch of its 2015 State of the World report, Amnesty International USA urged President Obama to use his last year in office to bring U.S. laws and policies in line with international human rights standards.

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 18, 2016 • Press Release

Your rights in jeopardy, global assault on freedoms, warns Amnesty International

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.

December 28, 2015 • Press Release

“Comfort women” deal must not deny survivors justice

In response to the announcement that the Japanese and South Korean governments have reached an agreement on the issue of Japan's World War II military sexual slavery system, Hiroka Shoji, East Asia Researcher at Amnesty International said:

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.

Human rights are under threat:

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