Athletes' Human Rights Pact Concluded
On March 14, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) signed a pact to promote human rights in sports with the Korea Sports Council.
The pact lays down, among other things, that the two organizations will jointly carry out investigations into the human rights situation in athletics and provide human rights training. The two agencies will also collaborate in devising short- and long-term plans to better protect the human rights of athletes. This is the first time for the NHRCK to join hands with the athletic community for a healthier sports culture and improved human rights in athletics.
At the ceremony to celebrate the conclusion of the pact, such former sports stars as Mr. Hwang Yeong-jo, an Olympic gold medalist marathoner, and Mr. Jang Yun-chang, a former leading member of the national volley ball team, committed themselves to active cooperation with the two agencies for the protection of younger athletes.
For years, South Korean athletes have delivered remarkable performances. However, it is also true that human rights violations in the national sports community have been frequent, including infringements of young athletes' right to study and serious violence while training. The recent death of a college freshman has focused national attention on the longstanding, covert, and violent practice of "taming freshmen" in the athletic departments of some universities.
Sharing a profound concern about the human rights situation in the sports community, the NHRCK and the Korea Sports Council have agreed to make a concerted effort to practically promote the human rights of athletes. The main points of the pact are as follows:
1. The two agencies will investigate the human rights situation of the athletes, including cases of physical and sexual violence. The Korea Sports Council will actively cooperate to reveal the essential truth of the cases. For example, the council will submit related materials and help the NHRCK investigate the individuals involved.
2. In the event the investigation of a case discovers a human rights violation, the Korea Sports Council will discipline those responsible. In case the violation is grave, the Council will call for legal action.
3. Regarding school and college athletes, who are vulnerable to human rights infringements, the two agencies will jointly provide human rights training to student athletes, coaches, and parents to raise their awareness about human rights.
4. The two agencies will also produce fundamental solutions to promote the human rights of athletes and actively cooperate so that such solutions generate practical results.
As the first step of their collaboration, the two agencies held a human rights training session for the executives and employees of the Korea Sports Council immediately after the ceremony.