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Statement by the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission Calling for the Promulgation of the Special Act on the October 29 Itaewon Crowd Crush
Date : 2024.02.27 16:30:09 Hits : 203

Statement by the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission Calling for the Promulgation of the Special Act on the October 29 Itaewon Crowd Crush


Call to progress with the procedures required to promptly determine the truth about the crowd crush, protect the rights of victims, and take measures to prevent any similar incident


Chairperson Song Doo-hwan of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (the “Chairperson”) welcomes the passage of the Special Act on the Protection of the Rights, the Investigation of the Truth, and the Prevention of Recurrence for the Victims of the October 29 Itaewon Crowd Crush (the “Special Act” or “Special Act on the Itaewon Crowd Crush”) in the plenary session of the National Assembly convened on January 9, 2024, and hopes that the Special Act will be promulgated as early as possible.

 

With the Chairperson’s statement (November 4, 2022) issued immediately after the Itaewon Crowd Crush and the National Human Rights Commission’s statement on the Special Act on the Itaewon Crowd Crush (June 26, 2023), the Commission has reiterated that it is necessary to enact a special act to allow an independent investigation body to investigate and reveal what truly happened in the crowd crush in a convincing and trusted way by victims, to concretely guarantee the rights of the victims, and to take measures to prevent any recurrence.

 

In its concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of the Republic of Korea adopted on November 3, 2023 for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the United Nations Committee on Civil and Political Rights (the “Committee”) expressed disappointment that a full-scale, independent investigation of the causes of the incident did not appear to have been carried out to determine the truth and effective remedies had not been provided to victims, and recommended the Korean government to (a) establish an independent and impartial body to investigate the disaster and determine the truth; (b) ensure that those responsible, including those in senior positions, are brought to justice and, if convicted, punished with appropriate sanctions; (c) provide adequate reparation and memorialization for victims and bereaved families; and (d) guarantee non-recurrence [T1](CCPR/C/KOR/CO/5, paras. 27-28).

 

As a State Party to the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Korea has a mandate to undertake efforts to implement the concluding observations (recommendations) issued by the Committee. The Committee’s inclusion of specific recommendations regarding the Itaewon Crowd Crush in its fifth concluding observations means that the international human rights community keeps an eye on the Korean government’s actions and implementation efforts to determine the truth and protect the rights of victims.

 

On October 29, 2022, the Itaewon Crowd Crush claimed the lives of 159 people and left many others injured. Determining the truth about this social tragedy through due process holds great significance, as it will help victims, including their bereaved families, to heal from the pain brought about by the tragedy and to move forward with their daily lives. It will also serve as a cornerstone for building a safer and more trustworthy Korean society.


In conclusion, the Chairperson hopes for a swift promulgation of the Special Act on the Itaewon Crowd Crush, which will expedite the procedures required to investigate the truth of the tragedy by an independent investigation body, tangibly uphold the rights of victims, and prepare measures to prevent any similar incident



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