Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF


Thursday, 25 October 2012 (afternoon)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is intended for use of the information media and is not an official record.  The note provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review and does not cover all points addressed.  An official summary of the meeting can be found in the Working Group report.)

State under review

Republic of Korea
Represented by 28-member delegation headed by Mr Ghil Tae-Ki, Vice Minister and Minister of Justice of the Republic of Korea.


To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit the Republic of Korea page on the UPR website.

Troika *

Djibouti, Hungary, Indonesia.

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
 (See full statement on the Republic of Korea page on the UPR extranet UPR)

  • The National Human Rights Policy Council was responsible for drafting the National Action Plan for Human Rights and monitoring its implementation;
  • In terms of international human rights obligations, the Government ratified the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and has withdrawn the reservation to Article 9 in the Convention on the Rights of the Child; other reservations have been withdrawn for the Convention to the Status of Refugees; as regards that Convention the Government enacted the independent “Refugee Act” in 2012 to come into effect in July 2013;
  • On discrimination, there were approximately ninety individual pieces of legislation that grounded a strong anti-discrimination culture in the ROK; the State had also enacted the “Anti-Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities Act”, among other related legislation;
  • As to human trafficking, the Government has put forward the amendment to the Criminal Act containing a comprehensive definition of human trafficking which was currently being considered by the National Assembly;
  • On freedom of expression, the Government enacted the “Personal Information Protection Act” and established the Personal Information Protection Commission in 2011;
  • Regarding the right to work, the Government initiated and provided comprehensive measures to protect non-regular workers from discrimination and to promote employment of women;
  • As to the right to health, the Government has established and implemented comprehensive plans for improvement of mid- and long-term public health programmes and introduced long-term care insurance systems to relieve burdens on families for caring for the elderly;
  • On migrants’ rights, the Government established and promoted the Framework Policy for Migrants and aimed to expand comprehensive services for immigrants to assist with their integration into society;
  • Foreign workers who have entered the country through the Employment Permit System were equally protected under various labour-related laws as citizens;
  • The Government was committed to its ODA and established the Framework Act on International Development Cooperation;
  • In response to questions posed by States, the delegation stated that the national security law did not infringe upon freedom of expression;
  • In closing, the head of delegation, while noting progress made in the country on human rights as well as areas where work was needed, said the Government endeavoured to re-examine its polices in the areas of human rights that needed improvement. 


In total 67 States participated in the dialogue: 25 HRC members and 42 observers  (Statements available on the Republic of Korea page on the UPR extranet UPR).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • The launching of the Korean National Action Plan on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights;
  • The lifting of reservations to international human rights’ instruments, including the CRC;
  • The ratification of the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and efforts to uphold the rights of disabled persons;
  • Efforts to combat human trafficking and domestic violence and combatting gender-based discrimination;
  • Generous contributions to overseas development assistance;
  • Efforts to promote human rights standards internationally.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • Steps to impose a moratorium on the death penalty;
  • Action taken to amend the National Security Act and to impose alternatives to military service;
  • Efforts undertaken to fully implement the Anti-discrimination Act;
  • Policies to address cases of discrimination against unwed mothers;
  • Steps to review the birth registration system; 
  • Measures to ensure the full enjoyment of human rights of migrant workers.


States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to the Republic of Korea. These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • Enhancing protection against domestic violence and enhancing rehabilitation of victims;
  • Increasing efforts to address the issue of trafficking of women and children and to combat sexual violence of children;
  • Combating discrimination against single mothers and their children and ensuring gender balance in employment providing equal opportunities for women;
  • Reviewing the birth registration system to safeguard human rights of unwed mothers and including immediate registration upon birth regardless of the parent’s nationality or status in the country;
  • Protection from discrimination and legal recourse for victims of discrimination and adoption of the Anti-Discrimination Act as a matter of priority;
  • Imposing an official moratorium on the death penalty and strengthening measures against torture and ill-treatment;
  • Amending the National Security Law to prevent its arbitrary application and abusive interpretation;
  • Ensuring the right to conscientious objection to military service and ensuring alternative military service options;
  • Guaranteeing freedom of expression, including on the Internet, and freedom of assembly;
  • Promoting local integration of refugees and asylum seekers and guaranteeing the full enjoyment of human rights of migrant workers;
  • Provisions to ensure that children of undocumented migrants were provided with access to medical services;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments:  The Palermo Protocol on the prevention of trafficking in persons especially women and children, the Convention on the rights of migrant workers; the OPCAT, the Hague Convention on inter-country adoption, the ILO Convention 189 on domestic workers, the Third OP on the CRC on communications, and the UN  Convention on Transnational Organised Crimes. 

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on the Republic of Korea is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, 31 October 2012.

The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR. 

Media contact: Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, rgomez@ohchr.org.