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NHRCK recommended 100 core tasks for the ‘4th National Action Plans for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights(NAP)’
- hope for meaningful human rights protection through nationwide improvement on human-rights related laws, institutions and practices -
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea(Chairperson Doohwan Song, hereinafter the ‘NHRCK’ or the ‘Commission’) has prepared the ‘4th National Action Plans for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights(2023-2027)’ and provided recommendations to the President of the Republic of Korea(jurisdiction: Minister of Justice) on 3 August 2022.
National Action Plans for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (hereinafter the ‘Human Rights NAP’) is a comprehensive mid and long-term national plan to protect and promote human rights. The purpose of the Human Rights NAP is to contribute to the protection and promotion of human rights by making improvements to laws, institutions and practices.
The concept of the NAP was born pursuant to the recommendation from the Article 71 of the ‘Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action’, which was adopted unanimously at the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, Austria, in 1993. Upon the agreement made with the government institutions in 2003, the NHRCK was tasked to prepare the recommendation draft and the Government of the Republic of Korea has been establishing the Action Plan.
The Commission provided the recommendations on the ‘1st Human Rights NAP’ in 2006, the ‘2nd Human Rights NAP’ in 2011 and the ‘3rd Human Rights NAP’ in 2017 to the government. As a follow-on measure to these recommendations, the government has established and implemented the ‘2007-2011 Human Rights NAP’ in 2007, the ‘2012-2016 Human Rights NAP’ in 2012, the ‘2018-2022 Human Rights NAP’ in 2018.
It took 5 meetings of the Working Group on the Recommendation Provision for the 4th Human Rights NAP with a group of human rights experts, 21 draft preparation meetings with 19 civil society organizations and the decision at the Commission’s plenary session to put forward recommendations for the 4th NAP.
The 4th Human Rights NAP is divided into 6 chapters with 100 core recommendations that are in urgent need of solutions or have to be prioritized before other issues in the next 5 years(2023-2027).
In Chapter 1 ‘Ensuring fundamental freedom for all people’, the Commission laid out the ways for improvements in the area of rights of freedom by introducing the pending issues in our society. These issues are related to the rights to life and safety, non-discrimination and equality rights, compliance and reinforcement of due process in criminal justice proceedings, rights to self-determine the matters regarding personal information, rights to access information, freedom of ideology and conscience, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and association and rights in detention/protection facilities.
In Chapter 2 ‘Making Respectful Society with no Discrimination’, the Commission presented and provided recommendations on the pending issues in Korea involving sexual minorities, military personnel, refugees, migrants, persons with disabilities, older persons, children and women. .
In Chapter 3 ‘Ensuring the Rights of all Laborers’, the Commission touched on key issues on labor, including the issues that reflect fast-changing labor environment. The issues addressed include safeguarding the rights through improving labor-related regulations, enhancing protection on those in the blind-spot of the labor market and promoting labor rights for subcontract workers.
In Chapter 4 ‘Leading Changes in making Human Rights-Friendly Society’, the NHRCK addressed and provided recommendations on the emerging human rights issues, including Artificial Intelligence(AI) and human rights, active domestic implementation of international human rights standards, institutionalization of human rights education and establishing relevant systems, reinforcing the basis of human rights system and the rights in local area, strengthening the public aspect of the medical system.
In Chapter 5 ‘Enhancing Corporate Responsibility on Respecting Human Rights’, the NHRCK talked about the institutionalization of human rights-friendly management and the establishment of the systems responding to human rights violence in companies to fight against direct and indirect violence on human rights in business.
In Chapter 6 ‘Making meaningful effort to improve Human Rights Situation in North Korea’, the Commission took the universal human rights principle approach, based on international human rights standards in order to put forward recommendations for human rights in North Korea. The international standards include reviewing and maintaining laws and institutions relevant to promoting human rights in North Korea and making appropriate coordination for North Korean human rights, protecting the rights of the people in the two Koreas including the separated families, those who have been forcibly disappeared in North Korea and North Korean defectors.
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea hopes to see the latest Human Rights NAP with many of its recommendation incorporated and will continue take a leading role in assisting the government to implement human-rights friendly policies.