Responding to an amendment bill to the proposed National Human Rights Commission Act in South Korea, Suki Chung, Asia-Pacific LGBTI rights campaigner at Amnesty International, said:
“This attempted amendment would rob Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people of vital legal protections. It denies them equal treatment and puts them at risk of discrimination.
“It is also clearly designed to prevent transgender, intersex and gender non-conforming people to live a life according to their identity.
“If this amendment passes it will be a shameful step backwards for human rights in South Korea. It would also send a chilling signal to other countries, especially other Asian countries where LGBTI-related laws are being debated.
“Around the world LGBTI people are bravely challenging discriminatory legislation and campaigning for equal rights for all. We urge members of the South Korean National Assembly to reject this bill and uphold laws that keep all citizens equal and safe.”
Members of the South Korean National Assembly have proposed an amendment to the National Human Rights Commission Act, tabled on 12 November, which proposes to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation as one of the violations of the act.
The amendment bill also restricts the definition of “gender” to gender assigned at birth and cannot be chosen even based on the gender identity of an individual.
If passed, this amendment will leave LGBTI people in South Korea exposed to discrimination in all aspects of their lives and make them easy targets for abuse, threats and possibly violence, with no recourse to legal protection.