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Korea Centers

Page history last edited by Jeff Plantilla 6 days, 21 hours ago

Korea Centers


Known Centers based in South Korea

If your center is not in this list and you want to be added, please contact HURIGHTS OSAKA and we will assist you.







Center for Human Rights

- Chunbuk University

Year Established: 2009

Short Historical Background

In December 2007, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) designated Chunbuk University as a regional hub for human rights for North Cholla Province. In January 2009, the NHRCK concluded a Memorandum of Understanding with the university for the establishment of the Center for Human Rights.


The Center aims to raise human rights awareness within university education, undertake public relations, research on human rights violations within the university, and undertake human rights research and education in North Cholla Province.

Programs and Activities


  • Human rights education – in 2009, the Center started a program on human rights education in the first semester of the school year.
  • Public relations - the Center undertakes campaigns within the school on human rights, (note: there is something about “investigation” in this section


Chonbuk University Center for Human Rights
Deokjin-dong, Deokjin-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do
664-14 Korea
ph (8263) 270-4724
fax (8263) 270-4143
e-mail: lwapple[a]jbnu.ac.kr




Center for Public Interest & Human Rights Law

- Chonnam National University

Year Established: 2006

Short Historical Background

The Chonnam National University launched in 2006 a project on human rights research and education as part of the unique activities characterizing the university by establishing the Center for Public Interest & Human Rights Law. In November of the same year, the university entered into a memorandum of understanding on research and education on human rights with the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK). From 2007, the Center started the publication of “Public Interest & Human Rights Law
Review,” initiated an annual training program for teachers, held academic conferences, undertook human rights research, organized human rights essay contest among undergraduate and graduate
students, and created the short program of the Asia Human Rights School in Gwanju.


The Center aims

  1. To raise the educational ideals of Chonnam National University Law School by cultivating upright lawyers of international standard
  2. To fulfill the special educational objective of developing advocates of public interest and human rights of international standard
  3. To undertake research, education and other relevant activities on public interest and human rights.


The Center implements the following programs:

  • Education on public interest human rights law
    • development of courses and materials on public interest human rights law
    • development of activities for the Public Interest Human Rights Law School
    • development and implementation of human rights education programs for teachers, members of the police, officers of correctional institutions
  • Research on Public Interest Human Rights Law
    • research on specific themes such as human rights of migrant children, human rights ordinances, human rights violations by state agents, migrant women and international marriage, sexual minority, human rights and law, legal ethics, ordinance of human rights, review of NHRC performance
    • organizing of scientific conferences focused on public interest human rights law
    • publication of the academic journal “Human Rights Law Review” to promote research activities
    • publication of a series of academic books to accumulate the results of research activities
    • promote exchange and cooperation with relevant institutions and organizations that specialize in human rights and public interest law
    • enter into agreements with the National Research Foundation of Korea, NHRCK, the Ministry of Gender and Family, Gwanju City, Board of Education of Gwanju City
    • hold academic events on major human rights issues more than once a year.


The Center engages in the following activities:

  • maintenance of the Center website and development of the database on public interest and human rightsれ
  • development of cooperation system with local and other relevant human rights institutionsれ
  • holding of educational activities for human rights activists and provision of support for the activities of human rights organizations at domestic and international levelsれ
  • survey of the human rights consciousness of university studentsれ
  • development of teaching materials, guidelines for achieving multicultural society, guidelines for implementation of Convention of the disabled people at domestic levelれ
  • development of standard local government ordinance on human rights, and indicators of democracy and human rights-friendly school, etc.れ
  • participation in the drafting of ordinance on making Gwanju a human rights city.


  •  “Human Rights Law Review” (biennial? bi-annual?, since 2007)


Center for Public Interest & Human Rights Law
Chonnam National University Law School
300,Yong bong-dong, buk-gu, Gwangju,500-757, South Korea
ph (82-62) 530-2293
fax (82-62) 530-2294
e-mail: peacepal[a]naver.com





Center for Public Interest & Human Rights

- Hanyang University


Year Established: 2009


Short Historical Background


The Hanyang University established the Center for Public Interest & Human Rights in 2009. In this same year, the Korean Legal Educational System underwent significant reform. One major change was the introduction of the Law School System that was meant to increase the number of lawyers who can provide citizens better access to legal services. To provide efficient implementation of its program, the Center for Public Interest & Human Rights supports the development of materials and human resources and the holding of activities such as academic research, reference data, lectures, forums, symposiums, and networking with related individuals and institutions.




The Center aims to train law students to become competent Human Rights Lawyers.




The Center has programs focusing on the following:

  •  Human rights research 
  • Public activities (such as symposiums) on human rights & public interest issues 
  • Development of human rights educational materials 
  • Monitoring of potential civil rights violations 
  • Networking 
  • Publication 
  • Community relations.




The Center holds the following activities:

a. Seminars

  • Two seminars co-organized with the Jurist Commission of Amnesty International Korea (2009)
  • Co-Sponsored Seminar with MINBYUN (Lawyers for a Democratic Society) (2010).

b. Symposiums

  • Symposium on “Criticism about the Downsizing Policy of the National Human Rights Commission of The Republic of Korea” (2009)
  • Symposium on "Achievements & Faults During the Ten years of National Human Rights Commission of The Republic "(2011)

c. Lectures

  • Lecture on Evicted Residents in Yong-san (speaker: Attorney Jang Seo Yeon) (2009)
  • Lecture on Sexual Harrassment Issues in Multinational Corporations (Eunice Kim) (2009)
  • Lecture on Harvard Law School Clinics and Clinical Education (speaker: Franciska Anqonett Coleman). (2011)

d. Forums

  • Forum on “Legal Practice of Human Rights” (2009)
  • Forum on “Attorneys Who Promote Public Interests & Human Rights” (2010)
  • Forum on "Internship in International Organizations"(2011) 

e. Workshops

  • Workshop in Access to and Enjoyment of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by Asylum Seekers in the Republic of Korea (2009)
  • The 3rd Refugee Human Rights Workshop: Protection of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of Refugees in Korean Law and Policy - Present and Future(2010)


Special Concerns

  •  Academic research and education 
  • International networking between scholars and activists




Human Rights Law & Practice

  • Volume 1 - December 2009
  • Volume 2 - December 2010
  • Volume 3 - December 2011


Other Information

The center has a library especially devoted to materials on human rights.




Center for Public Interest & Human Rights

Hanyang University

222 Wangsimni-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul, Korea

P.O.Box 133-791

ph (82-2) 2220 2825

fax (82-2) 2220 2784

e-mail: chanpark[a]hanyang.ac.kr; kangst[a]hanyang.ac.kr





Citizens' Coalition for Economic Justice (CCEJ)



Year Established 1989


Short Historical Background


The Citizens' Coalition for Economic Justice (CCEJ)was founded in 1989 by some five hundred people representing various walks of life: economics professors and other specialists, lawyers, housewives, students, young adults and business people. Their slogan, "Let's achieve economic justice through citizens' power," reflected their belief that the deep-rooted economic injustices could not be cured by the government alone, but ultimately must be solved by the organized power of citizens. They believed that the fruits of economic development should be shared by all the common people, not just the small group of "haves;" and they proposed a new methodology of gradual but thorough reform of the economic system. They founded CCEJ as a movement that would 1) be led by ordinary citizens, 2) use legal and nonviolent methods, 3) seek workable alternatives, 4) speak for the interests of all people, regardless of economic standing, and 5) work to overcome greed and egoism in order to build a sharing society.





The Policy Research Committee aims to develop policy alternatives through a process of research and public education in the form of open hearings, discussions and monthly policy seminars.



Programs and Activities


Policy Research Committee - develops policy alternatives through a process of research and public education in the form of open hearings, discussions and monthly policy seminars. Its 17 divisions are: Local Autonomy, Banking, Finance & Taxation, Land, Trade, Science & Technology, Education, Chaebol (giant business groups), Small/Medium Industry, Social Welfare, Housing, Transportation, Labor, Agriculture, Health and Medical Care, National Development, Politics & Administration.


Korea Economic Justice Institute - seeks new visions for Korean development and engages in research on economic problems. It promotes economic justice through projects such as the Korea Economic Justice Award (given to companies that contribute greatly to social development) and critical evaluation of the 30 biggest Korean business groups.


Korea Reunification Society - promotes citizens' movement, policy research, civilian exchange projects and other activities, with the goal of constructing a reunified Korean nation where economic justice will prevail.


Urban Reform Center - based on a philosophy of sustainable development and quality life for the citizens, the Center for Urban Reform was established in order to make cities healthful and good places to live. Its main activities are to present alternatives and initiate actions for the reform of policies and systems related to housing, safety, transportation, culture and revitalization of the urban areas. In support of this work, the Center organizes discussion meetings and campaigns, promotes solidarity among NGOs in Korean cities, and encourages citizens' interest and participation.


Anti-Corruption Center - carries out research for the reform of laws and systems, monitors government and business activities through a corruption-reporting desk, and engages in movement for citizens' participation and awareness-building.





  •  Civil Society Magazine





Citizen's Coalition for Economic Justice

50-2 Dongsoong-dong, Jongro-gu, Seoul 100-809 Korea

ph (822) 765-6400, 766-5623

fax (822) 741-8564

e-mail: iccej[a]ccej.or.kr







Dasan Human Rights Center


Date Established:



Short Historical Background












Special Concerns






Other Information





Dasan Human Rights Center

313 Beobjeon Bldg., Wonchon-dong, Paldal-gu, Suwon

Kyunggi-do, South Korea

ph 82-31-213 2105

fax 82-31-215 4395

e-mail: humandasan[a]hanmail.net






Database Center for North Korean Human Rights (NKDB)


Year Established: 2002


Short Historical Background


The Database Center for North Korean Human Rights (NKDB) was established in January 2002 in South Korea to present unbiased information on human rights violations in North Korea, and ultimately improve the human rights conditions there. NKDB was formally registered in March 2004. It established a counseling service in 2005 for people from North Korea who, after being interviewed, were found to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD). In 2007, NKDB developed the NKDB Central Database program to document cases of human rights violations in North Korea. Based on the information available in the NKDB Database, NKDB publishes annual and special reports on human rights violations in North Korea. In addition, the NKDB also operates the NKHRA (North Korean Human rights Archives) to systematically maintain and manage the records and evidence on human rights violations in North Korea, inspired by the Central Registry of State Judicial Administrations in Germany.





NKDB aims to improve the general human rights situation in North Korea by examining, analyzing and compiling cases of human rights abuses, collecting the evidence needed to verify cases of human rights violations, publishing reports, and supporting the North Korean victims of human rights violations to facilitate their adaptation to their new environment in South Korea.



Programs and Activities


  1. Collection of cases and evidence of human rights violations in North Korea
  2. Research, analysis and documentation of cases of human rights violations in North Korea
  3. Making compiled data on human rights violations in North Korea available to organizations or individuals who meet the criteria for accessing the data
  4. Publication of annual white paper and other reports
  5. Research and publication on government policy and actual conditions in North Korea
  6. Operation of North Korean Human Rights Archives (regularly updated database on cases of human rights violations and the evidence supporting the cases)
  7. Development of a team of experts in NKDB on the human rights situation in North Korea
  8. Supporting and counseling human rights violations victims from North Korea on their adaptation to a new environment in South Korea.





NKDB releases white papers and intermittent reports such as the following:

  • Are they telling us the truth? (2004)
  • The Economic Activity Status of North Korean Defectors 2006
  • White Paper on North Korean Human rights Statistics 2007 (English/Korean)
  • The Economic Activity Status of North Korean Defectors 2007
  • Escape to outside world from total control prison camp No. 14 (2007)
  • White Paper on Religious Freedom in North Korea 2008
  • The Central Registry of State Judicial Administration in Salzgitter (2008)
  • Analysis on trend of publication on North Korean Human Rights (2008)
  • Report on South Korean POWs (2008)



Other Information


  • Restricted data are available at the NKHRA for viewing only with permission
  • Information open to the public are available at the NKDB website (http://www.nkdb.org)
  • A membership system is in place to safeguard the release of data, to protect the privacy of the people involved and to facilitate requests for information.





Database Center for North Korean Human Rights (NKDB Center)

247 Sajik-dong Jongno-gu, Seoul 100-054 Korea

ph (822) 723-6045

fax (822) 723-6046

e-mail: nkdbi[a]hanmail.net






Human Rights Monitor-Korea (HRM-Korea)


Year Established: 2008

Short Historical Background

The Korea Human Rights Foundation (KHRF), a human rights education/advocacy organization, launched a newsletter project in 2007 that eventually evolved into an online blog news portal. Thus Human Rights Monitor-Korea (HRM-Korea) was established in 2008 as the KHRF online human rights news portal. Since then, HRMKorea has been getting high readership and is often referenced by major magazine and newspaper publications.


HRM aims to provide real time human rights development news of South Korea in English.

Other Information

The portal provides readers access to current human rights developments in South Korea. The news covers a wide range of issues:
human rights and corporate responsibility, child rights, women’s rights, labor rights, the North Korean human rights situation, to name just a few.


Human Rights Monitor-Korea (HRM-Korea)
4th Fl. Changbi Seogyo Building

7 Worldcup-ro 12-gil, Mapo-gu,
Seoul, Korea 04004
ph (82-2) 363-0002
fax (82-2) 363-0208
e-mail : khrf99[a]gmail.com; sooyonsuh[a]humanrightskorea.org
KHRF: www.humanrights.or.kr
HRM: www.humanrightskorea.org




Institute for Human Rights and Social Development (IHAS)

- GyeongSang National University

Year Established: 2007

Short Historical Background

The GyeongSang National University established the Institute for Human Rights and Social Development (IHAS) in 2010. Prior to this, the university established in 1985 the Institute for Unification,
which was reorganized into the Center for Unification, Peace and Human Rights within the Institute of Global and Area Studies. After its establishment, IHAS proceeded in the same year (2010) to form the human rights-based Policy Research Group, Team on Developing Indicators of Human Rights in School, Research Team for Korean Type of New Social Policy, and establishment of two centers – Social Policy Research Center (SPRC) and Human Rights Education Research Center (HRERC).


IHAS aims to co-operate in the promotion of human rights and social development based on the values of human rights and solidarity.



IHAS works on two priority areas: 1) research and education of human rights; 2) research into social development based on human rights and solidarity.
The IHAS convenes topic-related seminars, hosts academic conferences, organizes significant research projects, and communicates with the public through publications. The IHAS aims to contribute to the enhancement of human rights and the promotion of social development in Gyeongnam province, Korean society and support the further development of human society in the world.



  • Academic seminars – several seminars are being held by IHAS and SPRC and HRERC on various topics.
  • Conferences – IHAS holds national and international conferences such as the 2010 national conference on the theme “Searching for a Human Rights-based Social Policy” and 2011 international conference on the theme “Searching for a New Paradigm on Social Policy.” IHAS also organizes academic conferences such as the conferences on “Direction of Education Concerning the Human Rights of Minorities” and “Labor and Social Policy.”
  • Publication – IHAS publishes books based on the proceedings of the conferences held.
  • Research – IHAS undertakes research through its research teams, namely, New Paradigm in Social Policy Research Group and the Human Rights Education Research Group under the SPRC and HRERC respectively. IHAS also has the Research Team for Korean Type of New Social Policy.



  • Social Policy and Human Rights
    New Paradigm on Social Policy



Institute for Human Rights and Social Development (IHAS)
Department of Social Welfare, College of Social Sciences
Gyeongsang National University
900, Gajwa-dong, Jinju-si, Gyeongsangnam-do, Korea 660-701
ph (82-55) 772-1240
fax (82-55) 772-1219
e-mail: stkang[a]gnu.kr
http://ihas.gnu.ac.kr/ (korean)



Korea University Human Rights Center

- Korea University


Year Established: 2016


Short Historical Background


The Korea University Human Rights Center was established as an affiliate institution of Korea University (KU) that would provide adequate counseling, education and research on human rights under the university motto of liberty, justice and truth.


With Professor Changrok Soh as its first director, the Center began work in May 2016 on its main subfields of human rights violation counseling in the campus, human rights education for the members of the school community through various programs and domestic as well as international research on human rights.




The Center aims to promote and protect the human rights of KU students, faculty and staff members as well as human rights all over the world through various international research and networking initiatives.




The Center has the following programs: 


  • Human rights education –the Center has been in charge since 2017of providinghuman rights education to first year students of KU as a compulsory program 
  • The main responsibilities of the Center are following:


1. Human rights education 

     o Provide education to prevent any forms of discrimination and rights violation;

     o Provide specialized educational programs through a variety of social activities to enhance human rights;

     o Increase understanding of issues through human rights forums and activities.

2. Human rights research

     o   Promote research networks through human rights societies and journals;

     o   Propose research agenda and methodologies, and research human rights issues in cooperation with various actors;

     o   Host academic events with research institutes within campus.


3. Human rights violation counseling and investigation

     o Provide counselling to any member of the school who suffered within the campus any form of unjust treatment or violence based on race, ethnicity, country of origin, social hierarchy, mental and physical challenges;

     o Ensure counselling provides any the opportunity to talk someone and obtain appropriate information to solve the problem;

     o Form an Investigation Committee upon receipt of an official complaint to conduct a fair and just investigation of the case.




The Center has held the following events since its establishment:

  • The 10th Asia Human Rights Forum and the 11th Youth Human Rights Advocates Workshop - 17-19 August 2016;
  • Human Rights Film Festival - 7 November 2016 -funded by the US Embassy
  •  North-South Korean Talk Concert - 8 November 2016;
  • UN Enforced Disappearances in the Context of Transitional Justice Seminar - 7 February 2017 - co-hosted with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances;
  • North Korean Human Rights Forum - 3 March 2017 - co-hosted by Ministry of Unification;
  • The 11th Asia Human Rights Forum: Human Rights and Asian Corporate Leadership  - 17-18 April 2017 - co-hosted with Human Asia, Rafto Human Rights Foundation and Institute for Human Rights and Business.




KU Human Rights Center

Korea University

(former Operator Room), 1F, 5-1

Anam-Dong, Seongbuk-Gu, Seoul, 02841, Korea

ph (+82) 2 3290 2845

fax (+82) 2 929 2415

e-mail: humanrights[a]korea.ac.kr



Korea Legal Aid Center for Family Relations


Year Established: 1956


Short Historical Background


The Korea Legal Aid Center for Family Relations is a non-governmental, non-profit legal service provider established in Seoul in 1956. It is the first and only such family relations legal aid organization in Korean. In 1988, it became the first non-governmental organization (NGO) to be registered under the country’s new legal aid law.


It was established by Dr. Tai-Young Lee to provide protection of the human rights of the poor and the uneducated through fee legal aid and counseling, based on a belief in the dignity of all human beings and the equality of all before the law. It has been primarily focused on family law cases in the belief that peace in the family means peace in the world. As for short-term objectives, it has provided legal, education services, and as for long-term objectives, has contributed to abolishing gender discrimination and spousal discrimination in family law through relentless legislative efforts.


For the past fifty years, it has served about 2,354,000 clients.





The Center’s mission is to promote and protect democratization and human rights in family life through legislation, legal services, counseling, publication and education.



Programs and Activities



Daily, free legal counseling services are provided in person, by mail, phone, email and the Center’s website. The emphasis of counseling is on mediation and reconciliation. Every Monday evening, counseling is provided for people working during the day. The Center also provides circuit counseling and onsite counsel9ng services for people who have difficulty in accessing one of its offices.


Legal Representation

One Hundred Lawyer Community consists of pro bono attorneys. As of 2007, 500 pro bono attorneys provided legal counseling and also helped low-income clients in court. The Center’s staff members help clients in preparing court documents.



The Center provides a variety of educational programs to promote a safe, healthy and happy family life.

  •  Law Lecture Series for Everyday Life
  •  Single Parents’ School
  • Fathers’ School
  • Wedding Preparation Course
  • Grandmothers’ and Grandfathers’ School, etc.


Prevention and Rehabilitation of Domestic Violence

Upon request of courts and the prosecution, the Center provides counseling and education to domestic violence perpetrators. In delegation of the City of Seoul, it operates Women’s Hotline 1366 for victims of domestic violence 24 hours a day.


Clinical Programs

As an effort to raise future legal leaders, the Center provides clinical programs in cooperation with Ewha Woman’s University and other colleges.


Movement Toward Amendments to the Family Law

Since its birth, the Center has been committed to abolishing discriminatory clauses in the family law of Korea to promote and ensure gender equality in familial and marital relationships and has played a major role in bringing about the following:

  • The enforcement of the Registration of Family Relations Act in 2008
  • The abolishment of the head of the household system, a central and discriminatory provision in the family law in 2005
  • The third revision of the family law of 1989
  • The second revision of the family law of 1966
  • The establishment of a family court system in 1963
  • The first revision of the family law of 1958


Research and Publication


As a top legal service provider in family law, the Center has accumulated invaluable academic knowledge and firsthand information. It has served governmental entities, educational institutions, other organizations and individuals in family law issues through a variety of research and publication activities.


The Center often organizes conferences and seminars on family-related issues and publishes, on a regular basis, monthly newsletters, articles, research reports, books and pamphlets. Its library has 16,000 books and periodicals relating to family, children and human rights issues.



Special Concerns


As a social, cultural and economic environment changes, family-related legal issues are getting complicated. In an effort to provide comprehensive and effective services, the Center has been expanding services in areas of law related to family life, such as landlord-tenant, bankruptcy cases, etc.




  • Some of the Center’s publications are the following:
  • What Can I do?: Legal Counseling for Family Relationships (6th ed. 2008)
  • The Registration of Family Relations Act (2008)
  • True and False on Drinking (2008)
  • Legal Protection of Common Law Marriages (2007
  • Introduction of Conservatorship (2007)
  • A Manual for Counselors for Victims and Perpetrators of Domestic Violence (2007)
  • A Research Paper on Views on Martial Property (2005)
  • Never Strike Even Either With a Petal or With a Leaf (2003)
  • Research on Divorce Rates in Korea III (1987)



  • We Can Restart: A World Without Domestic Violence (2006)
  • Reconsidering a Divorce, the Present and the Future (2005)
  • Running Away (2003)
  • Fruits of a 50-year Movement to Revise Family Law: A Documentary on the Abolishment of the Head of the Household System (2002)
  • Dr. Tai-Young Lee, A Great Teacher of Our Time (1999)



Other Information


As of 2008, the Center has thirty-one branch offices nationwide and six branches offices in the U.S.




Korea Legal Aid Center for Family Relations

#11-13 Yeiudo-dong, Youngdeungpo-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea

ph (822) 780-5688/5689

fax (822) 780-0485

e-mail: webmaster[a]lawhome.or.kr






MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society



Year Established: 1988


Short Historical Background


In the course of the struggle for a democratic society, Korean lawyers began to actively defend prisoners of conscience and offered support for the democratization movement. The collective advocacy and involvement in the “Guro solidarity strikes” led to the establishment in 1986 of 'Jeongbeophoe (Lawyers for Legal Justice)' by thirty lawyers united by their desire to promote democracy in South Korea.


As a result of great sacrifice and long endeavor of the people for democracy, the awareness of the democratization movement widened further. Lawyers also were faced with greater demand of the in-depth study and analysis of alternative policies on human rights violations as well as the basic duty of defending human rights activists.


In response to the socio-political changes and the growing participation of younger lawyers in the democratization movement, ‘Jeongbeophoe’ was dismantled and a more cohesive group, 'MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society' (MINBYUN) was established on 28 May 1988.





MINBYUN aims at the development of a systematic and organizational structure in response to human rights violations with the goal of becoming a valuable participant in the entire democratization movement in South Korea. In addition, MINBYUN provides legal advice and cooperation to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working for social progress.



Programs and Activities


MINBYUN makes the effort to achieve the development of democracy in South Korea through litigation, research, and investigation, increasing public awareness and joint activities to protect basic human rights and attain social justice. MINBYUN undertakes the following activities to fulfill its objective:


Research and On-site Investigations - to further advance democracy in South Korea and gain the required expertise, MINBYUN takes on research and analysis of various laws and legal structures, which impede the advancement of human rights. MINBYUN also offers solutions to legal problems regarding human rights and such proposals have been utilized by the National Assembly to amend various laws.


In cases involving serious human rights violations, MINBYUN lawyers conduct on-site investigations and submit reports to relevant authorities. When necessary, letters of protest are sent and lawsuits are brought forward to remedy the wrong.


Legal Representation - the National Security Law and other related laws have been misused to suppress human rights and to persecute individuals who exercise their constitutionally-guaranteed rights. In situations such as these, MINBYUN lawyers are required to not only represent defendants in criminal proceedings but also monitor the authorities for any unlawful conduct such as obtaining confession by the use of torture. MINBYUN also offers legal consultation on labor disputes relating to wages, working conditions and basic labor rights. Recently, the scope of involvement has widened to include issues of public interests such as compensation for flood victims, damage compensation of abusive police interrogation, unconstitutionality of the Hoju-Je (Family Head System), and compensation for noise pollution around Kimpo Airport, among others. Also, as partner of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), MINBYUN provides asylum seekers with legal assistance, including counseling and representation.


Opinion Making - MINBYUN formulates public opinion on human rights issues through publication and circulation of pamphlets, books, printed materials and findings of petition drives. Through these publications, MINBYUN informs the general public of undisclosed facts regarding human rights. It has also, either independently or jointly, held numerous public forums, debates, symposiums to present human rights issues and demand the development of alternative policies and the reform of the legal system.


Inter-Organization Cooperation - MINBYUN works closely with other Korean NGOs to promote democratic causes. Cooperation can take various forms and includes research, on-site investigation and opinion-making. MINBYUN is also involved in international activities, seeking to raise the domestic level of protection of human rights on par with international standards. MINBYUN drafts reports pursuant to various international human rights agreements and submits its reports to the United Nations. In May 2001, MINBYUN obtained the Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Through this, MINBYUN is expected to take a more active role in the international area. MINBYUN also assists other overseas human rights organizations to prevent human rights violations and sends abroad their relevant appeals.



Special Concerns





Periodicals (in Korean)

  • Legal Defense for Democratic Society¡»(Bimonthly, since 1993)
  • Critiques of Labor Judicial Cases¡»(Annual, since 1996)
  • Report on the National Security Law¡»(Annual, since 199)


Publications (in Korean)

  • Manual on Legal Defense (1996)
  • Interpretation of the New Labor Law (2nd ed.,1997)
  • White Book on MINBYUN's Activities (1998)
  • Restructuring of the Rights of Privacy in view of the Rights of Counter-Surveillance (1998)
  • Lawyers’ Interpretation of Labor Law (2nd ed., 2002)
  • Lawyers' Interpretation of Labor Law II. Law on Trade Unions and Labor Relations Adjustments (2nd ed., 2003)
  • Expounder for Abolition of National Security Law. (2004)
  • Guidebook on Laws Related to Sex Trafficking (2004)


Reports/Materials (in English)

  • Human Rights in South Korea – Counter-report to the 1st Periodic Report submitted by the Republic of Korea in regards to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (1992)
  • Human Rights and Japanese War Responsibility – Counter-report to the 3rd Periodic Report submitted by Japan in regards to the ICCPR (1993)
  • The National Security Law: Instrument of Political Repression in South Korea (1993)
  • Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in South Korea –Counter-report to the 1st Periodic Report submitted by the Republic of Korea in regards to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) (1995)
  • NGOs' Counter-report to the Periodic Report submitted by the Republic of Korea in regards to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) (1996)
  • The New World Order and Human Rights in the Post-Cold War Era (1996)
  • Supplementary Report to the Periodic Report submitted by the Republic of Korea in regards to the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) (1997)
  • Human Rights in South Korea – Counter-report to the 2nd Periodic Report submitted by the Republic of Korea in regards to the ICCPR (1999)
  •  Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in South Korea - Alternative Report to the 2nd Periodic Report submitted by the Republic of Korea in regards to the ICESCR (2001)



Other Information


MINBYUN has special committees on particular issues, namely, Correction of Past Wrongdoings Committee, Labor Committee, U.S. Military Issues Committee, Media Committee, Women's Rights / Social Welfare Committee, Reunification Committee, Environment Committee.





MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society

5F, Sinjeong B/D, 1555-3, Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu,

Seoul, Republic of Korea, PO 137-070

ph (82 2) 522 7284

fax (82 2) 522 7285

e-mail: m321[a]chol.com





People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD)


Year Established: 1994


Short Historical Background


Founded in 1994 by more than 200 members, the People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD) is a civil organization dedicated to promoting justice and human rights in Korean society through the participation of the people.


Following the demise of the succession of authoritarian regimes that had ruled Korea for over 30 years, the first civil government was elected to power in 1993. The citizens who wanted reform and democracy felt a strong need for a way or means by which they could participate to keep an eye on government authorities and to bring about legal and policy reforms.




Prevent the abuse of power by government, the judiciary, and business through advocating social justice, presenting alternative policies

Encourage social participation of the people.


Programs and Activities


Center for Judiciary

Watch monitors power abuse in the judiciary and provides reform plans. The center publishes a monitoring magazine and operates a legal profession archives to record the details of judges' rulings.


Center for National Assembly Watch

contributes to participatory democracy through continuous watch of and civil participation in national politics. It watches the activity of the National Assembly and its members, and operates an on-line archive. The center monitors the flow of political funds and government subsidies for political parties.


Center for Peace and Disarmament

seeks to look for ways to overcome the remnants of the Cold War ideology and bring peace on the Korean Peninsula. Its activities include evaluating policies concerning peace in Korea and East Asia, monitoring military defense policies, proposing alternatives, and education.


Center for Tax Reform

aims to promote fairness and equality in taxation. It works to make a better society by trying to reform the tax system so that tax is imposed more fairly depending on the income level. The center also keeps an eye on tax authorities so that they carry out fair and transparent tax administration based on accurate calculations of income.


Transparent Society Campaign

deals with corruption. The Campaign team played a leading role for the legislation of anti-corruption law. It supports those who provide information on corrupt activities and researches anti-corruption policy. One of its main activities is to use the Freedom of Information Act to access state documents and to submit its own evaluation on the qualification of candidates for cabinet posts.


Restoration of Citizens' Rights Campaign

works to recover civil rights that might have been repressed by government officials or corporations. To regain the rights of citizens, this team works tirelessly to file litigations for the benefit of the public and to educate people about their rights.


Participatory Economy Committee

seeks democracy in the economy and reform of the chaebol through a minority shareholders' campaign and by keeping a watchful eye on various businesses activities. To this end, the committee attends annual general meetings of shareholders and brings civil and criminal lawsuits against the management to ask responsibilities and to improve corporate governance.


Social Welfare Committee

strives to reform the social welfare system and to protect and improve the social rights of the underprivileged. It tackles such issues as the national pension and contingent workers' rights, and campaigns for the guarantee of budget for social security.


International Solidarity Committee

The PSPD obtained a special consultative status with the ECOSOC of UN in 2004. The committee monitors government's activities in the international arena and promotes international networking for human rights and democracy, especially among Asia-Pacific countries.


Participatory Social Academy

established, as a citizen's complex education institution, to improve and provide dynamic education programmes for presenting a role model who can uplifts mind of democracy and enjoyment of right for citizens.


The Institute for Participatory Society

provides a direction and a role model for practical politics and participatory society.


The Public Interest Law Center

encourages active public interest law movement in Korea by developing and providing assorted educational and practical training programs.


Special Concerns

Corruption and human rights



  • Asian Solidarity (quarterly)
  • Yondae (bi-annual news magazine)


Other Information




People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD)

132 Tongin-Dong, Jongno-Gu, Seoul 110-043 Korea

ph (82-2) 723-5051

fax (82-2) 6919-2004

e-mail: pspdint[a]pspd.org

website: eng.peoplepower21.org




Sarangbang Center for Human Rights


Year Established: 1993


Short Historical Background


Starting through study session of a mere group of human rights activists in 1992, the members decided in 1993 to form an organization called 'Sarangbang' (a Korean word for 'meeting room'). It started publishing Human Rights Daily, the first newspaper specialized in human rights in Korea. The following year it established the Human Rights Information and Resources Library, and in 1997 created the Human Rights Resources Database .




Sarangbang aims

  1. To expand the base of human rights advocacy
  2. To spread human rights viewpoints to every corner of society
  3.  To popularize and internationalize human rights advocacy
  4.  To build a progressive human rights movement.


While at the same time the universality of human rights is kept in mind, Sarangbang thinks about the progressive side of human rights conception that changes in sync with the history of mankind.



Programs and Activities


Human Rights Daily, a two-to-three-page newsletter published five days a week and delivered by fax, post, e-mail and internet service. It focuses on human rights issues that the mainstream media ignore. Human Rights Daily fulfills the role of grassroots media.


Human Rights Education - includes summer human rights camp for youth and children; summer and winter human rights workshop for college students; workshop for school teachers, NGOs activists; internship for Social Welfare majors; campaigns for the Rights of the Child; monitoring of the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; development and creation of human rights education program and materials


Human Rights Information and Resources Library - contains thousands of books, documents, reports and video tapes on human rights, and open to the general public.


Civil and Political Rights Watch - consist of campaigns against police brutality, electric identity cards, compulsory fingerprint, censorship, and the National Security Law; fact finding and reporting on human rights abuses; prison condition monitoring

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Watch - consist of fact finding and reporting on the situation of irregular workers; study group on the ICESCR; monitoring for the implementation of the ICESCR.


Seoul Human Rights Film Festival(SHURIFF) - held annually since 1996 as a form of human rights education and advocacy for the freedom of expression. All films are shown free of charge to the public. SHURIFF rejects any censorship, and screens excellent films in all genres related to human rights, both domestic and foreign. It also gives awards to the most outstanding human rights film of the year by judging films from the perspective of human rights.


The Institute for Human Rights Movement - an attached organization that holds daily seminar (6 days a week) on different subjects, such as history, law, human rights instruments, human rights news, etc.





  • Korea Human Rights Daily (vols. 1 - 15) (1993 – present)
  • Children's rights, the Promise of the World (1997)
  • The Condition of Prisons in Korea (1998)
  • The National Security Law Report 1997 (1998)
  • Pathfinder for Human Rights Education (1999)
  • The National Security Law Report under Kim Dae-jung regime (1999)
  • The Rights to live in dignity (1999)
  • Get Up, Stand Up for Your Rights (2000)
  • The National Security Law Report 2000 (2001)



Other Information



  • special award of the 6th Democratic Media Awards by the Korean Federation of Press Unions, 1996
  • People's Artist Award by the Korean People's Artists Federation, 1997
  • Human Rights Award by the Korean National Council of Churches(KNCC), 1997
  • Grand Prize by Cine 21, a weekly film magazine, 1998
  • 7th Good Education Award by the National Teachers Union, 1998
  • 4E19 People's Revolution Award by the 4E19 Memorial Foundation, 1998
  • Hellman-Hammett Award by Human Rights Watch, 1998
  • a prize on Human Rights Essay Contest sponsored by Lawyers for Democracy, 1998
  • 2nd Democratic Media Award by the Civil Coalition for Democratic Media, 2000.





Sarangbang Center for Human Rights

3F, 398-17 Jungnim-dong

Jung-gu, Seoul 100-360 Korea

ph (822) 365-5363

fax (822) 365-5364

e-mail: humanrights[a]sarangbang.or.kr





SNU Human Rights Center

- Seoul National University


Year Established: 2012


Historical Background and Objectives


The Seoul National University Human Rights Center (SNU HRC) was established in 2012 with the purpose of fostering a culture of mutual respect in the SNU community and contributing to promoting human rights through counselling and consultation, academic research and education.


SNU HRC strives to promote and protect human rights of SNU members by offering counseling, investigating cases such as sexual harassment, verbal or physical abuse, discrimination, and providing remedies in the event of human rights violations. The Center also provides activities to improve rules and practices on campus.


For human rights education and research, the Center develops training programs on human rights and gender equality, offers courses on human rights theories and practices, and conducts research in the field of human rights. Research topics include marriages of migrant women, hate speech, Korean ODA and human rights, women’s rights during wars, and human rights education in universities.


SNU HRC has been hosting various events. It has been holding international symposiums since 2012, to share research findings and expand the network on human rights with experts in the field and academia. Also, the annual international winter course, “Human Rights and Asia” has been organized since 2014. The course has been inspiring participants to think about human rights in the context of Asia and to apply the learnings and insights to their field work.


Programs and Activities


1. Protection of Human Rights on Campus

· Offers counseling, conducts investigation reports on various human rights violation issues such as sexual harassment, verbal or physical abuse, and discrimination

· Provides remedies in the event of a human rights violation


2. Academic Activities and Research

- Develops and offers training programs on human rights and gender equality

- Offers courses on human rights theories and practices

- Hosts various international symposiums and special lectures on human rights issues

 · “The UN Convention against Torture and State Violence” by George Tugushi (2013)

 · “World and Human Rights: Ten Years of Change” by Audrey Gaughran (2014)

 · “Human Rights, Justice and My Life” by Navi Pillay (2015)

- Hosts the annual International Winter Course, ‘Human Rights and Asia”

- Holds ‘Model UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review’




SNU Human Rights Center

Seoul National University

3rd Floor, (Bldg. 153) Woojungwon, Gwanak-ro Gwanak-gu, Seoul, Korea, 08826 

ph 82-2-880-2426 (Research Division)

fax 82-2-877-2421

Email addresses for each department are available on the website:  http://hrc.snu.ac.kr  (English page is available as well)


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