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UN Peace Univ. shutdowns due to sexual harassment

Posted May. 17, 2013 07:37,   


The National Human Rights Commission concluded that unwanted sexual advances toward students by a professor of University for Peace Asia Pacific Centre correspond to sexual harassment.

After making the decision at a subcommittee meeting Wednesday, the national commission will send letters of recommendation and decision to both the students and the Asia Pacific Center next week. The Education Ministry will order shutdown of the institute early next month, which has been operated as an educational institute without permission. On April 2, students of the center filed a complaint with the commission against a professor for sexual harassment. Under the current law, the National Human Rights Commission can make a decision only on sexual harassment among issues related to sexual violence. This is because sexual abuse or assault can only be verified by law enforcement agencies, such as prosecutors and police.

The national commission will recommend that the school separate the perpetrator and the victims, and take measures to prevent inadvisable sexual behaviors from happening again. But thus far, the school has failed to provide a sexual harassment prevention training. The victims will also receive compensation. “In most of the sexual harassment cases, perpetrators were recommended paying 1 million won (890 U.S. dollars) to 3 million won (2,700 dollars) to each victim. So the recommendation will likely be made in accordance with these precedents,” said a source from the human rights commission. During a 10-hour investigation, the professor is said to have denied all charges against him.

This case was closed within a month and a half after the submission of the complaint. According to the white paper of complaints about sexual harassment published last year by the commission, it took an average of 160.7 days to have a case finished. Compared to this figure, this case was decided much faster. “We tried to have the matter concluded as soon as possible since students were badly damaged in the aftermath of the incident," said the source at the commission.

While reporting the allegation, The Dong-A Ilbo found that the University for Peace Asia Pacific Centre has never received a permission from the government. With this finding, the Education Ministry began taking the process to close down the center after a field study on Tuesday.