NHRCK, Ambassadors and UN Agency Representatives Come Together for Enactment of Equality Law
-NHRCK hosts a meeting for the exchange of experiences in enacting equality law aimed at countering hate and discrimination and creating an inclusive society -
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea(NHRCK) hosts a meeting with ambassadors to Korea and UN agency representatives on addressing racism, hatred and discrimination on June 11 at the Lilac Room of the Westin Chosun Hotel in downtown Seoul.
The debate on the enactment of an equality law has gathered momentum since the Commission called upon the National Assembly to work to pass an equality law in June 2020. Moreover, the spread of COVID-19 has put a spotlight on the issue of hate and discrimination globally and highlighted the urgent need for the international community to work together for the establishment of institutions and laws against hate and discrimination.
Against this backdrop, the Commission hosts a meeting on this topic to examine the impact of comprehensive anti-discrimination laws in countries with great human rights records such as Europe in terms of policy effectiveness and public awareness and implications for the Korean society ahead of the introduction of equality law.
The meeting brings together ambassadors to Korea, UN agency representatives, diplomats to share the experiences of different countries. Several lawmakers who are actively involved in passing the bill-Reps. Sang-min Lee, Ju-min Park and In-sook Kwon of the Democratic Party of Korea and Rep. Hye-young Jang of the Justice Party, attend the meeting as well to present their views about current human rights issues including equality law.
The United Nations has worked tirelessly for the realization of the right to equality, which is defined as the fundamental human right under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights treaties. EU Member States and other leaders in the promotion and protection of human rights have adopted laws and regulations against discrimination and various policies for upholding the right to equality. Unlike most OECD members, Korea has not enacted an equality law, which prohibits all forms of discrimination, although the Constitution sets forth the principles of equality as a fundamental right of a person.
* European countries are required to satisfy specific requirements known as the Copenhagen criteria if they wish to join the European Union. One of the three criteria is protecting human rights and respecting the rights of minorities. With the adoption of anti-discrimination law being used as a measure of whether a State has met this condition, many EU Member States have enacted an equality law or anti-discrimination law.
Meanwhile, the Commission presented the draft version of equality law along with the opinion calling on the National Assembly to enact an equality law in June 2020. It urged the legislature to lead the efforts to realize equality for all.