E/CN.4/2006/NGO/184–March 7, 2006

11월 24th, 2010 | Posted by admin in 4. UN reports on Republic of Korea

Sixty-second session
Item 11(g) of the provisional agenda


1. Even though 13 years have passed since it was confirmed in 1993 by the General Comment
(General Comment No. 22) of the Human Rights Committee, a monitoring body of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that the right to refuse to perform
military service (conscientious objection) is from freedom of expression enshrined in Article 18
of the Covenant and the UN Commission on Human Rights has made a number of resolutions
[E/CN.4/RES/2004/35, E/CN.4/ RES/2002/45, E/CN.4/RES/2000/34, E/CN.4/RES/1988/77],
Republic of Korea is one of deep concerned countries which deny the right to conscientious
objection to military service. As outlined in our previous written statements to the Commission
[E/CN.4/2005/NGO/303, E/CN.4/2003/NGO/25, E/CN.4/2002/NGO/126], it is estimated that
about 700 young people eligible for a military draft are still imprisoned for their convictions not
to bear arms in every year. Most of conscientious objectors are Jehovah’s Witnesses while the
number of conscientious objectors with non-religious motives is increasing. In 2005, Ui-min
Jeong, , Sang-hyun Moon, Dong-ju Ko, Jeong-rok O, Tae-hoon Kim, Young-jin Kim, Yong-suk
Lee, Do-hyung Kim, Se-yun Park, and Jae-young Choi declared their conscientious objection on
account of their antiwar conviction and pacifism.
2. As of 15 January 2006, total 1005 conscientious objectors are imprisoned and the number of
conscientious objectors in prison even rose to 1086, counted in 15 September 2005, making a
highest number of records. In its statement before the 60th session of the Commission under
agenda item 11, the government of the Republic of Korea stated that it would continue to make
efforts to explore various possible ways to address the issue of conscientious objection to
military service. The relevant authorities, however, have hardly improved.
3. In 26 December 2005, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in the Republic of
Korea recommended to the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Minister of National
Defense that it recognized the right of conscientious objection and a system of alternative
military service be made for harmonious coexistence of the right of conscientious objection and
alternative military service. The Minister of National Defense made his position that the decision
on alternative military service would be considered after a research of policy community which
consists of NGOs and officials of government and the Ministry of National Defense. We urge the
Speaker of the National Assembly and the Minister of National Defense to respect the
recommendation according to article 25 (2) of the NHRC Act, which states that the heads of
related authorities receiving any recommendation shall respect and endeavor to implement the
said recommendation. In spite of the recommendation on the issue of conscientious objection,
conscientious objectors are still interrogated in custody after warrant issue by courts.
4. A revised bill of the Military Service Act for the purpose of introducing an alternative for
conscientious objectors that twenty-two members of the National Assembly proposed in
November 2004, and the related bill ten members of Democratic Labor Party also suggested,
however, have been stalled for two years without any further constructive discussion.
5. We would like to recall that the Commission in its resolution 2004/35 called upon States that
have not yet done so to review their current laws and practices in relation to conscientious
objection to military service in the light of Commission resolution 1998/77. We also note with
concern that the government of the Republic of Korea, even as a member of the Commission,
has not provided any related information to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights (OHCHR) with regard to making a concerted efforts to address the issue by analyzing the
existing practices.
6. It is clear that more and more young people will become victims of violations of human rights
due to their conviction. In light of this, we strongly urge the Government of the Republic of
Korea, which is a member of the Commission and also a party to the ICCPR, to:
(a) Respect and endeavor to implement recommendation by NHRC and immediately stop
conducting interrogation in custody and criminalizing conscientious objectors by providing
various forms of alternative services;
(b) Take further active initiatives in raising awareness among Korean society on the right to
conscientious objection, not sitting and waiting as a bystander for a social consensus to be
(c) Fully and substantively cooperate with the OHCHR and submit relevant materials on the
current laws and practices in relation to the recognition and implementation of the right to
conscientious objection to military service;
(d) Invite the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief in order for him to
investigate the violations of human rights on conscientious objection in the Republic of
Korea, and extend a standing invitation to all thematic special procedures of the
7. Furthermore, we call on the Commission to:
(a) Pay sincere attention to the human rights violations committed in the countries which have
not yet recognized the right to conscientious objection to military service;
(b) Continuously work on the possible monitoring mechanisms, further to the preparation of
the compilation and analytic report of best practices, to make sure the effective
implementation of the right to conscientious objection to military service.

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