NGO’s Counter Statement on the Position Paper of the Ministry of Justice on the Concluding Observations of the UN
PSPD requested CESCR's clear position about the Korean Government's unwillingness to follow CESCR's advice
PSPD asked the Ministry of Justice to hold a forum for specific plans to implement the Concluding Observations
On 30 December 2009, 56 NGOs including People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy(PSPD), Lawyers for Democratic Society(Minbyun), Group for Human Rights(Sarangbang), and Korean Public Interest Lawyers’ Group(Gonggam) submitted the counter statement against the position paper of the Ministry of Justice to CESCR(the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: hereafter, the Committee) released on 24 November 2009.
Since 2001, it has taken the Committee 8 years to have a chance to deal with the major issues such as downsizing the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, the Yongsan tragedy, poor social safety net, and the migrants' rights. The Committee fully examined them and gave appropriate recommendations.
However, the Ministry of Justice announced that it decided to raise formal objections to the Committee in the future. It claimed that the Concluding Observations includes many factual errors and in the light of general practice, it is very unusual and inappropriate that the Committee mentioned specific individual cases which are pending in court such as the Migrants’ Trade Union and the Yongsan incident in the international covenant report.
Against the announcement of the Ministry of Justice, 56 NGOs sent the committee an official letter that criticizes the South Korean government which did not take the Concluding Observations with sincere attitude. They mentioned that the Concluding Observations precisely pointed out that the current situation of economic, social and cultural rights in the Korean society which have been deteriorated rapidly. Furthermore, the announcement by the Ministry reveals that the South Korean government has no intention to implement the Concluding Observations, as well as denies the system of UN mechanism for human rights. In addition, 56 NGOs added evidence in detail to prove that 10 counter arguments raised by the Ministry of Justice are merely excuses to distort and reduce reality.
Meanwhile, the 56 NGOs emphasized that the South Korean government should have specific plans to implement the Concluding Observations at an early date. They also asked the Ministry of Justice to hold a forum at which all interested bodies including the government ministries, the judiciary, NGOs, the National Human Rights Commission, and other related parties can take parts in constructing specific plans to implement the Concluding Observations.