2010-11-16 15:39:23

Korean human rights watchdog in crisis

(November 16, 2010) The recent mass resignations of members of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, NHRCK, reflects the worsening human rights situation in South Korea, the Asian Human Rights Commission says. The Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission, AHRC, said that the NHRCK, “which had been hailed as a model for other countries in the region,” has now significantly deteriorated due to the appointment of members who have “limited or no expertise” in the human rights field. Sixty-one of the 160 NHRCK committee members resigned and held a press conference on Monday in which they demanded that commission chairman Hyun Byung-chul resign immediately for failing to investigate issues that might embarrass the government. “Many worries have come true” after Hyun, who lacks experience handling human rights activities, took office in July 2009, said Andrew Kim Duck-jin, one of the 61 members who have resigned. Kim who is also secretary-general of the Catholic Human Rights Committee noted that the NHRCK under Hyun’s leadership “has kept silent on sensitive human rights violations directly related to the government.” The AHRC also sent an open letter on Monday to the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions asking them to take necessary measures available to resolve Korea’s worsening human rights situation.

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