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Chairpersons’ Statement on Welcoming the decision from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to recommend the Government and the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea to provide remedies for the victims of the 'Brother’s Home incident'
- Need effective measures to provide remedies to the victims of the incident for their full recovery-
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea(Chairperson Doohwan Song) hereby releases a statement welcoming the decision from the second Truth and Reconciliation Commission(hereinafter the ‘Reconciliation Commission’) to recommend the Government and the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea to provide remedies to the victims of the ‘Brother’s Home incident’, seeing the event as an example of wrongly wielding state power, thereby causing serious violation on human rights of the people.
The ‘Brother’s Home incident’ is a case where the rights of many Koreans were violated at a facility called the 'Brother's Home'. In the 1970s and 1980s, people were randomly selected off the streets, without the due process. These people, who were labeled as ‘homeless’, were sent to the Brother’s Home in Busan and had to withstand beating, sexual assault, intimidation, confinement and forced labor. Some of the detainees at the facility even died or went missing.
The Reconciliation Commission confirmed that the violation on human rights at the Brother’s Home was committed under the approval, and with the systematic intervention from the Government of the Republic of Korea. The Reconciliation Commission, therefore, recommended the Government to find ways to provide remedies and heal the trauma of the victims and to closely monitor the operation of all types of care facilities currently running, so as to prevent cases similar to the Brother's Home incident. To the National Assembly, the Reconciliation Commission recommended the prompt ratification of the UN’s International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance(ICED).
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea also saw the violation on human rights unfolded at the Brother’s Home in the 1970s and 80s, including the arbitrary confinement, as an uncivilized catastrophe which was taken place under the protection of the state power. Consequently, the Commission provided an opinion to the Chairman of the National Assembly that it is only fair that the Special Act on the case of the Brother’s Home is promptly legislated and provided recommendations to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Justice to ratify and join the ICED on 6 December 2017.
However, the bill to legislate the Special Act on the case of the Brother’s Home tabled at the time was discarded and the ICED is also not ratified to this day.
The ‘Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law’, adopted unanimously at the UN General Assembly on 16 December 2005, clearly states that the reparation to the victims has to be ‘adequate, effective, prompt’ and ‘full’.
It is regrettable that the victims of the ‘Brother’s Home incident’ and their families still have to live through the pain, without tangible outcomes in terms of the remedy provision and adequate compensation for the detriment caused, though 5 years have already passed since the Commission made its recommendation to the relevant authorities.
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea, supporting the recent decision made at the second Truth and Reconciliation Commission, calls on the Government of the Republic of Korea to find ways to provide remedies for the victims, including medical support and psychological counseling for treating trauma, and to compensate for the pain the victims had to withstand for many years.