Go to contents

Expectations and Worries about Human Rights Committee

Posted October. 12, 2001 08:38,   


President Kim Dae-Jung officially appointed 11 committee members of the Human Rights Committee including the chairperson Kim Chang-Guk as the first step to establish the Committee.

However, it is doubtful whether the committee will be launched by the legal due date of Nov. 25th since the selection of the committee members had been delayed and the ideological spectrum and the experiences of the new members are diverse.

The committee members are composed of 3 lawyers retired from judges, 2 lawyers retired from public prosecutors, and 3 professors of law schools. However, except for this only commonality of them, the distinctive characteristic of the committee is `diversity`.

They may be divided by whether they had the experience of the human rights movement. Chairperson Kim, Kwak Nho-Hyun, professor of the Korea Open University, and Jeong Gang-Ja, standing chairperson of Korean Women`s Association (Minwoo-hoe) have been active members of the `Joint Countermeasure Committee of Civil Organizations for Establishment of Righteous National Human Rights Organization` which consist of 74 human rights NGOs.

Park Kyung-Seo, professor of SungKongHoe University, and Yoo Shi-Chun, former NMDP`s executive member, also worked as the first Human Right ambassador and the director of the Association of the Democratization Movement Families (Mingaheop) respectively.

The rest of them are experts in the theories of law and the practice of law. Yoo Hyun and Kim Oh-Sup are lawyers retired from judges, lawyer Lee Jin-Gang was a public prosecutor, and Cho Mi-Kyung and Shin Dong-Wun are pure jurists.

Such diversity might create a noise in the committee. Civil organizations and the Amnesty International such as `Human Rights Solidarity` pointed out that some politicians and lawyers are lack of their expertise and the devotion to the human right issues. On contrary, some lawyers refuted that, if the National Human Right Committee is operated as anti-government organizations in the past, it would create additional violation of the human rights.

However, most lawyers accepted the diversity as natural, saying ``the diversity of the Human Right Committee reflects the diversity of Korean society in its ideologies and sentiments. It is important for those diversified members to gather together to create an integrated model of human rights as a universal value in Korea.``

Meanwhile, a related official of the Organizational team of the National Human Right Committee said, ``it would be difficult to launch the Committee in time, considering the time to set up offices and human resources and to legislate related regulations. The cooperation of the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs and the Ministry of Justice is keenly demanded.``

Shin Suk-Ho kyle@donga.com