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Comment on the call to repeal the "Chungcheongnam-do Basic Ordinance on Human Rights"
- The repeal of the Chungcheongnam-do Human Rights Ordinance would undermine the human rights values that our society has built up and set back the local human rights guarantee system
□ The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (Chairperson Song Doo-hwan, hereinafter referred to as the "NHRCK") expresses its opinion to the Chairperson of the Chungcheongnam-do Provincial Assembly and the Governor of Chungcheongnam-do Province on May 8, 2023, regarding the request to repeal the "Basic Ordinance on Human Rights in Chungcheongnam-do Province" (hereinafter referred to as the "Chungcheongnam Human Rights Ordinance"), stating that the repeal of the "Chungcheongnam Human Rights Ordinance" is contrary to the regionalization of human rights and will set back the regional human rights promotion and guarantee system that has been established and operated for the human rights of all people.
□ In August 2022, a petition to repeal the "Chungnam Human Rights Ordinance" was filed with the Chungcheongnam-do Provincial Assembly, claiming that the ordinance was based on incorrect human rights concepts and values, and that there were problems with the "sexual orientation, gender identity, family type, ideology, and criminal record" section of the ordinance's prohibition of discrimination.
□ Pursuant to Articles 19(1) and 25(1) of the National Human Rights Commission Of Korea Act (hereinafter referred to as the "Human Rights Commission Act"), the NHRCK reviewed the justification of the request for repeal of the "Chungnam Human Rights Ordinance" and made the following determination.
○ Regarding the concept of human rights:
The Claimants argue that the Chungnam Human Rights Ordinance follows an incorrect concept of human rights, but the concept of human rights contained in the Ordinance is defined and stipulated based on human dignity and worth, freedom and rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the Human Rights Commission Act, or recognized by international human rights treaties and customary international law to which the Republic of Korea has acceded and ratified, and is a very appropriate and valid concept for realizing the fundamental rights of individuals and human dignity and worth.
○ Regarding the prohibited grounds of discrimination:
The claimant argued that there were problems with the prohibition of discrimination based on "sexual orientation, gender identity, family type, ideology, and criminal record" in the "Chungnam Human Rights Ordinance," but these reasons are recognized as universal human rights to be protected from unjust discrimination in the Constitution, the Human Rights Commission Act, international human rights norms, and international covenants, and it was appropriate and proper to stipulate these prohibited reasons in terms of protecting the human rights of all citizens, not just the socially vulnerable.
○ Regarding the regionalization of human rights:
In 2013, the UN Human Rights Council emphasized the localization of human rights and the role of local governments in the protection and promotion of human rights through the Resolution on Local Governments and Human Rights, and the NHRCK emphasized the importance of human rights ordinances that have direct normative power in the lives of local residents through the Recommendation on the Establishment and Revision of Basic Human Rights Ordinances (April 12, 2012) and the Status of Local Human Rights Systems and Expression of Opinions (June 15, 2017). The "Chungnam Human Rights Ordinance," which was enacted as a result of this process, is considered to have important implications for localizing and institutionalizing human rights, a universal value of humanity.
○ Regarding the importance of human rights ordinances and regional human rights protection and promotion systems:
Since enacting the "Chungnam Human Rights Ordinance" in 2012, the province has established the Chungnam Human Rights Commission and promoted tasks such as establishing a basic plan for human rights policy, surveying the human rights situation of vulnerable groups, and counseling and redressing human rights violations. Since the establishment of the Chungnam Human Rights Center in 2015, it has added sign language interpretation services to provincial promotional videos to ensure the right to information and knowledge of persons with hearing disabilities, and recommended revising excessive living regulations and improving re-contracting standards to ensure the basic rights of athletes in the province, which can be considered a contribution to the improvement of the human rights situation in the province and the resolution of human rights issues.
□ In response, the NHRCK determined that the repeal of the "Chungnam Human Rights Ordinance" would not only go against the regionalization of human rights, but would also lead to a regression of the human rights guarantee system for local residents, and clearly expressed its opposition to the request to repeal the "Chungnam Human Rights Ordinance."
□ The NHRCK hopes that local governments can play an important role in reflecting on the value of human rights in our society and strengthening the local human rights guarantee system, and will continue to pay special attention to attempts to roll back the local human rights guarantee and promotion system.