National Human Rights Commission of Korea had a Plenary Meeting on 10 and decided to recommend to the Prime Minister and Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Justice to access to the Second Optional Protocol of the ICCPR.
The Second Optional Protocol of the ICCPR is mainly about the responsibility to prohibit the execution of the death penalty and to take necessary measures to abolish the death penalty. This protocol is an internationally agreed commitment to promote and protect the human rights and to fundamentally prohibit the execution of and abolish the death penalty.
NHRCK expressed its opinion on abolition of the death penalty to the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Constitutional Court in April 2005 and June 2009, respectively. It continued to make efforts for the abolition of the death penalty including expression of its opinion in December 2017 with regards to the abolition of the death penalty under the Military Act. In April this year, the NHRCK hosted an international seminar on the abolition of the death penalty where experts from both at home and abroad attended and shared opinion. It also conducted a fact-finding research on abolition of the death penalty and introduction of an alternative punishment.
The recommendation for the accession to the Second Optional Protocol is of significant meaning in that the decision was made with unanimous consent of 11 Commissioners after a long-hours of debate and discussion at the very first Plenary Committee convened after the inauguration of the new Chairperson Choi Youngae.
NHRCK hopes for the Korean government to join the Second Optional Protocol of the ICCPR, declare official moratorium of the execution of the death penalty and to take gradual measures for the abolition of the death penalty.