In the context of the UPR, Amnesty International makes the following recommendations to South Korea

National human rights legislation:
•    To sign and ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

National Security Law:
•    To abolish the National Security Law or to bring it into line with international human rights standards so that it cannot be used to suppress dissent or prosecute individuals for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association;
•    To immediately release all individuals imprisoned for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of opinion and expression.

National Human Rights Institution:
•    To ensure that the National Human Rights Commission of Korea is adequately staffed and financed so that it is empowered to act as an independent, effective and credible national human rights institution;
•    To ensure that members of the National Human Rights Commission are appointed through a transparent process and in consultation with civil society groups and other relevant stakeholders, and that those appointed have relevant human rights-based knowledge and experience.

Freedom of assembly and association:
•    To ensure that clear guidance and strict training is given to police officials on the appropriate use of police and security equipment and weaponry in accordance with international human rights law and standards;
•    To ensure that allegations of unnecessary or excessive use of force by police during protests are investigated, and that individuals responsible for such acts are prosecuted;
•    To end the persecution of individuals, including journalists and trade unionists, who campaign for media independence;
•    To drop civil and criminal charges against those involved in peaceful protests against the construction of a naval base in Gangjeong village, Jeju Island.

The death penalty:
•    To establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty;
•    To take all necessary steps to secure abolition of the death penalty in national legislation.

Conscientious objection to military service:
•    To grant an immediate and unconditional amnesty to all conscientious objectors currently in prison in South Korea;
•    To bring national legislation into line with international standards by introducing provisions for conscientious objection to military service, including ensuring that alternative service is of a genuinely civilian character, non-punitive and under civilian control, and of a length comparable to that of military service.

Migrant workers’ rights:
•    To eliminate the restrictions on labour mobility of migrant workers, a major reason for their exploitation by their employers, including by amending Article 25 of the Employment Permit System Act which restricts the number of times migrant workers can change jobs;
•    To take particular measures to respect, protect and promote the rights of all women migrant workers and to ensure that they are not subjected to human rights abuses at their places of work, such as unlawful restrictions on their freedom of movement, verbal and physical abuse and sexual and other forms of gender-based violence;
•    To immediately remove obstacles to migrant workers forming and participating in trade unions, including the Migrants Trade Union, and to recognize the status of the Migrants Trade Union as a legal union in South Korea;
•    To ensure that the procedures for the arrest, detention and deportation of irregular migrant workers are in line with international human rights law and standards;
•    To conduct prompt, effective, independent, thorough, and impartial investigations into allegations of human rights violations by immigration officials and to hold the perpetrators to account.



South Korea: Amnesty International's submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review

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