28th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council
Item 3 : Promotion and Protection of Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Oral Statement delivered by Ms. Ha Na Kim
13 March 2015
Thank you, Mr. President,
MINBYUN welcomes the Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Michel Forst on the situation of human rights defenders. In particular, we share the same concern that the human rights defenders are exposed to the threats and attacks in the form of intimidation, stigmatization and defamation.
MINBYUN notes that recently attacks have been directed against human rights defenders in Republic of Korea. Firstly, last October the Prosecutors’ Office of the Republic of Korea applied to the Korea Bar Association to commence in the disciplinary action against 7 MINBYUN members. The Prosecutors’ Office claimed that lawyers violated the professional ethics when they acted in the professional capacity.
However, the truth is that (i) one lawyer advised suspect to remain silent during the interrogation process; (ii) another one lawyer advised suspect nothing to conceal the truth and make false statement; and (iii) other lawyers took the police officers away from the assembly site not to interfere with the ongoing assembly. Given the circumstances of the facts, we define that these disciplinary actions amount to attacks by the government.
Secondly, the rights of some human rights defenders have been breached when the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Korea ordered the dissolution of the political party known as the Unified Progressive Party (“UPP”) which we believe that the decision did not satisfy international human rights standards.
With this decision, approximately 100,000 UPP members were deprived of their right to exercise freedom of association. The government extended criminal investigations over the ordinary members of the party. In addition, the law prohibits any assemblies intending to contest the Constitutional court decision from taking place, which infringes the members’ right to exercise freedom of assembly.
We, MINBYUN would like to draw the HR Council’s attention to follow-ups with respect to these issues.
Thank you, Mr. President