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NHRCK Expresses Opinion on the (Proposed) Framework Act on Military Service
Date : 2007.05.09 00:00:00 Hits : 1051

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) reviewed the proposed Framework Act on Military Service (" Bill" ) previously announced by the Ministry of National Defense on January 15, 2007. The NHRCK found that the Bill was inconsistent with the purport of the National Defense Reform Act, which is designed to assure military servicemen" s basic rights, improve their welfare, and enhance the barracks culture. The NHRCK also discovered that the Bill was focused on stipulating obligations of men in uniform rather than guaranteeing their basic rights. In addition, the NHRCK determined that the Bill would be very ineffective because of absence of measures enabling exercise of rights and execution of sanctions to safeguard military personnel" s basic rights. Accordingly, the Commission opined that the Bill should be completely redrafted.

Since the incident at the Nonsan Recruitment Center in which soldiers were forced to eat human excrement and the killing rampage by a soldier at a Yeoncheon guard-post in 2005, the Ministry of National Defense has been pressing for enactment of the Framework Act on Military Service to guarantee protection of military servicemen" s human rights by establishing effective legal and institutional devices to bring about a fundamental improvement in the barracks culture. The Bill announced prior to legislation provides for military personnel" s legal status, rights, and obligations comprehensively. It comprises 5 chapters and 32 articles that guarantee human dignity and rights and lay the legal and institutional groundwork for military servicemen" s performance of obligations. Among matters stipulated by the Bill are the government" s basic duties, military personnel" s obligation to be loyal, be faithful, and obey orders, prohibition of non-public punishment, military servicemen" s religious activities, medical services, leaves of absence, recommendations, complaint handling, professional counselors, restrictions on the areas of movement, external announcements and activities, and political acts, prohibition of collective acts, etc.

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