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    Republic of Korea (2nd cycle)

    For a summary of Republic of Korea’s review at the first cycle please click here.

    14th UPR session
    Date of review: 25 October 2012
    Date of report adoption: 14 March 2013
    Working Group report: A/HRC/22/10

    Summary

    Recommendations: Include in the Anti-discrimination Law a specific prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; Study the possibility of intensifying measures aiming at eliminating all discriminatory treatment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity; Review the possibility of repealing laws that criminalize on the basis of sexual orientation within the military.

    Status: Pending to HRC22 (March 2013)

    I. Key issues/recommendations identified by NGOs

    • Include sexual orientation and gender identity in antidiscrimination legislation;
    • Treat homosexuality equally with heterosexuality in the military;
    • Conduct education and public awareness campaigns.

    II. Excerpts from input reports

    National report

    IV. Implementation of and progress on the recommendations of the previous UPR
    Anti-discrimination act (Recommendation 21 and 23)

    45. The Government has continued its research and review on a general act on anti- discrimination, encompassing grounds for discrimination such as gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation. While studying relevant domestic legislations, international human rights norms, and legislations of other countries, the Government has sought to address social and economic issues that can be entailed in the enactment of a general anti-discrimination act and to strike a balance between the right to equality and the principle of private autonomy. In 2010, the Government organized a special sub-committee consisting of government officials from relevant ministries, academics, legal experts and interest groups for in-depth discussions in this regard. In 2011, two draft bills for anti-discrimination proposed by lawmakers were submitted to the National Assembly, but they expired with the conclusion of the 18th National Assembly session in May 2012.

    Compilation of UN information

    III. Implementation of international human rights obligations A. Equality and non-discrimination
    8. CEDAW regretted the slow progress in the adoption of the Anti- Discrimination Bill which had been on hold since May 2008 with CESCR and CRC regretting that the legislative definition of discrimination does not contain an express prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation and nationality. The Government in its replies to CERD in 2008 indicated that it was redoubling its efforts to introduce the Anti- Discrimination Act. CEDAW called for urgent steps to be taken towards the adoption of a comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Act, in line with the Convention and article 2 (4) of the NHRC Act.

    Summary of stakeholder information

    I. Information provided by the accredited national human rights institution of the State under review in full compliance with the Paris Principles
    C. Implementation of international human rights obligations, taking into account applicable international humanitarian law

    13. The Constitutional Court, in March 2011, upheld article 92 of the Military Penal Code, which penalizes same-sex sexual activity for the military. The Government should modify relevant regulations to combat discrimination against sexual minorities and promote education and public awareness to ensure the protection of the rights of sexual minorities.

    III. References to SOGI during the Working Group review

    Interactive dialogue and responses by the State under review

    53. The [delegation stated that the] second National Action Plan for Human Rights includes preparing for the enactment of a general anti-discrimination act. The Government will fully consider including in it grounds for discrimination such as sexual orientation, and indirect discrimination.

    100. Australia noted that the death penalty remains applicable and that no formal moratorium has been decided. It encouraged Republic of Korea to reach a social consensus for abolition. It noted that there remains a substantial difference between men’s and women’s salaries and that there is no broad anti-discrimination and harassment legislation protecting homosexual, bisexual and transgender social groups. It made recommendations.

    113. [The delegation noted that a]ccording to Article 92-5 of the Military Criminal Act, sodomy and sexual molestation acts are punished. The Constitutional Court on two occasions decided that such a provision was constitutional considering that it was meant for military discipline and sustenance of combat capabilities and only valid in case of an act taking place between militants within a barrack. Therefore, it is inappropriate to repeal or revise such a provision at this point.

    IV. Conclusions and/or recommendations

    The following recommendation was accepted by the Republic of Korea:

    124.33. Study the possibility of intensifying measures aiming at eliminating all discriminatory treatment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity (Argentina).

    No clear position was given on the following recommendations:

    124.24. Adopt the Anti-discrimination Act as a matter of priority while encompassing also grounds for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (Czech Republic); Include in the Anti-discrimination Law a specific prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (Spain);

    124.34. Review the possibility of repealing laws that criminalize on the basis of sexual orientation within the military (United States of America);

    V. Adoption of the Report

    The report of the working group was adopted at the 22nd regular session of the Human Rights Council in March 2013.

    Position of the State under review (A/HRC/22/10/Add.1)

    Recommendation 24. The Government will consider the inclusion of sexual orientation in the research and review process for the enactment of the Anti-discrimination Act.

    Recommendation 34. Article 92(5) of the Military Criminal Act has the purpose of maintaining discipline within the military by punishing specific acts of indecent conduct; it is not a regulation for the punishment of sexual orientation itself.

    Statements by States and other stakeholders

    There were no other references to sexual orientation or gender identity during the adoption of the report of the working group.

    VI. Further information

    UPR Documentation

    For first cycle reports of Republic of Korea, please see here

    National report 1: ACE | FR | S
    Corrigendum : E
    Compilation of UN information 2: ACE | FR | S
    Summary of stakeholders’ information 3: AC | E | FR | S
    Corrigendum :  E only
    Questions submitted in advance : E
    Addendum 1 :  E
    Addendum 2 :  E

    Outcome of the review
    Report of the Working Group: AC | E | FR | S
    Addendum: AC | E | FR | S