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[Oral Statement] Item 6: Universal Periodic Review outcomes of Republic of Korea

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53rd regular session of the UN Human Rights Council

Item 6: Universal Periodic Review outcomes of Republic of Korea


Oral statement delivered by Hushitha Nandigham

On behalf of Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

6 July 2023


Mr. President,

We make this statement together with our member organization, People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD). We appreciate the government’s timely response to the UPR recommendations and the stated commitment to engage with civil society in the UPR process. However, we are disappointed by its limited engagement with  civil society while also ignoring our key concerns.

Despite concerns expressed by numerous states, the Republic of Korea has merely noted recommendations to abolish the death penalty and the National Security Act.

In contradiction to the government’s support for the recommendations related to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, it has repeatedly issued notices to ban peaceful assemblies in front of the Presidential Office.

This arbitrarily expansion of the grounds on which rallies can be banned under the Assembly and Demonstration Act has increased reports of excessive use of force by police against peaceful gatherings and criminal investigations against activists and workers for alleged violations under the Assembly and Demonstrations Act. Additionally, we are particularly concerned about the ongoing consultations between the government and ruling party seeking to amend the Assembly and Demonstration Act to restrict groups alleged to have engaged in ‘unlawful’ acts from organising commute-time rallies and to impose a ban on nighttime rallies.

We call on the government to guarantee the right to peaceful assembly in line with its international human rights obligations under the ICCPR and remove all undue restrictions on peaceful assembly.

Finally, we call on the government to adopt a comprehensive anti-discrimination law that prohibits all forms of discrimination including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (ICRMW) as reflected in the many recommendations that the government failed to accept.

FORUM-ASIA and PSPD call on the government to develop a concrete and time-bound implementation plan in consultation with civil society organizations. We look forward to further engagements with the government and with the international community to follow up on UPR recommendations.

Thank you.