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SOUTH KOREA – Civil society questions the qualification of NHRCK chair

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hun_byung_chul_july09.jpgA person with no expertise on human rights issues
became the new chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea
(NHRCK), civil society organisations said in South Korea.

Hyun Byung-chul, a law professor of Hanyang University, was inaugurated to take
the position on 20 July 2009. Four days before, when he was nominated,
FORUM-ASIA member People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD) sent
him a questionnaire for his perspective on NHRCK and human rights.

Many organisations have expressed their concerns that Hyun is not qualified to
take the position. They urged him to step down and questioned his qualification
for the position.

During the past year, South Korea has seen human rights violations arose from
policies of the President Lee Myung-bak's administration. In a commentary
published on 19 July 2009 at The Pressian, an independent news website,
Kwak No-hyun, a former member of the commission, criticised that this
appointment illustrates the President's intention to neglect human rights