On 22 May 2007, the Ministry of Justice of South Korea finalized and published the National Action Plan for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights[Korean](NPA), a blueprint of governmental human rights policies for the next five years.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of Korea had already worked on the draft recommendations to the government on such a national plan since 2003, which was finalized in January 2006 and presented to the government next month.
In accordance with the recommendations, the Ministry of Justice had consultations with the relevant authorities and finalized the NPA, which is the first comprehensive plan on human rights policies at the governmental level.
The Ministry of Justice explains that the NPA covers a wide range of human rights in all fields, political, economic, social and cultural, with special emphasis on the protection of human rights of socially vulnerable people and minorities, such as women, people with disabilities, migrant workers and low-income people. The NPA also refers to the improvement of police custody and social reintegration of prisoners.
On the other hand, it does not address some big issues in today's Korean society, such as the abolition of capital punishment, the repeal of the National Security Act and the recognition of conscientious objectors, stating that they will be subject to further consideration. The NHRC had recommended the abolition of capital punishment, the repeal of the National Security Act and the introduction of alternative services for conscientious objectors.
The development of national plans of action on human rights was recommended to governments in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights in 1993. According to the Ministry of Justice, Australia was the first state to adopt such a plan, followed by some 20 states as of April 2007.
* Ministry of Justice of South Korea, "Ministry of Justice News" [Korean]
* Human Rights Bureau, Ministry of Justice of South Korea [Korean]
* The Hankyoreh, 22 May 2007 [Korean]
National Human Rights Commission of Korea