Republic of Korea (CESCR 19-10-2017)
The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights considered the fourth periodic report of the Republic of Korea on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (E/C.12/KOR/4) at its 54th and 55th meetings (E/C.12/2017/SR.54 and 55) held on 20 and 21 September 2017, and adopted the following concluding observations at its 78th meeting, held on 6 October 2017.
C. Principal subjects of concern and recommendations
Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity
- The Committee is concerned at the criminalization of same-sex acts in the military criminal act. The Committee is also concerned that the persons involved in same-sex relationships are exposed to discrimination in the enjoyment of several Covenant rights. Moreover, it is concerned at reports of discriminatory attitudes and acts against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons in many fields of public life (art. 2 (2)).
- The Committee recommends that the State party take effective measures to eliminate de jure and de facto discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons. In particular, it recommends that the State party:
(a) Abrogate the provision of the military criminal act, which criminalizes same-sex acts;
(b) Revise legal and regulatory provisions that are discriminatory or have a discriminatory effect, such as those relating to social security, reproductive health and housing;
(c) Ensure that the comprehensive anti-discriminatory law to be adopted also prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity;
(d) Conduct awareness-raising campaigns to counter prejudices regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons.
- While noting the implementation of successive plans to address the high level of suicide in the State party and the system of gatekeepers that has been introduced, the Committee regrets the lack of information about measures taken to tackle the societal root causes of the still high rate of suicide in the State party.
- The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen efforts to prevent suicide, including by addressing its societal root causes, including undue stress in education and employment, poverty among older persons and discrimination and hate speech experienced by certain groups, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons.