국가인권위원회

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The World for All National Human Rights Commission of Korea is always with you

National Human Rights Commission Act

  • Act No. 6481, Established on May 24, 2001
  • Act No. 7427, Amended on March 31, 2005
  • (Civil Act)
  • Act No. 7651, Amended on July 29, 2005
  • Act No. 7655, Amended on August 4, 2005
  • (Medical Treatment and Custody Act)
  • Act No. 7796, Amended on December 29, 2005
  • (State Public Officials Act)
  • Act No. 8050, Amended on October 4, 2006
  • (National Finance Act)
  • Act No. 8435, Amended on May 17, 2007
  • (Act on the Registration, Etc. of Family Relationship)
  • Act No. 9402, Amended on February 3, 2009
  • (Public Service Ethics Act)
  • Act No. 10679, Amended on May 19, 2011
  • Act No. 11413, Amended on March 21, 2012
  • CHAPTER I. GENERAL PROVISIONS

    CHAPTERⅠ_GENERAL PROVISIONS

    Article 1 (Purpose)
    1. The purpose of this Act is to contribute to the realization of human dignity and worth and the safeguard of the basic order of democracy by establishing the National Human Rights Commission to ensure the protection of the inviolable and fundamental human rights of all individuals and the promotion of the standards of human rights.
    Article 2 (Definitions)

    The definitions of terms used in this Act shall be as follows:

    1. The term "human rights" means any rights and freedoms, including human dignity and worth, guaranteed by the Constitution and Acts of the Republic of Korea, recognized by international human rights treaties entered into and ratified by the Republic of Korea, or protected under international customary law;
    2. The term "detention or protective facility" means a facility that falls under any of the following categories:
      • (a) A penitentiary, a juvenile penitentiary, a holding center and its branches, a facility for protective custody, an institution for medical treatment and custody, a juvenile reformatory or a juvenile classification review board;
      • (b) A police station cell or a facility where a judicial police officer investigates, detains or impounds persons in order to perform his/her duties;
      • (c) A military prison (including its branches, detention homes for those pending trial, and military police guardhouses);
      • (d) A protective facility for foreigners;
      • (e) A group protective facility (meaning a facility prescribed by the Presidential Decree for the custody or detention of a group of persons); and
      • The term "discriminatory act violating the right to equality" means any of the following acts committed without reasonable cause based on gender, religion, disability, age, social status, region of birth (including place of birth, first-registered domicile, one's legal domicile, and major residential district where a minor lives until he/she becomes an adult), national origin, ethnic origin, appearance, marital status (i.e., married, single, separated, divorced, widowed, and de facto married), race, skin color, thoughts or political opinions, family type or family status, pregnancy or birth, criminal record of which effective term of the punishment has expired, sexual orientation, academic background or medical history, etc. If a particular person (including groups of particular persons; hereinafter in this article the same shall apply) receives favorable treatment for the purpose of remedying existing discrimination, and the favorable treatment is excluded from the scope of discriminatory acts by any other Acts, then such favorable treatment shall not be deemed as the discriminatory act violating the right to equality (hereinafter referred to as the “discriminatory act”): 〈Revised on May 19 of 2011>
      • (a) Any act of favorably treating, excluding, differentiating, or unfavorably treating a particular person in employment (including recruitment, hiring, training, placement, promotion, wages, payment of commodities other than wages, loans, age limit, retirement, and dismissal, etc.);
      • (b) Any act of favorably treating, excluding, differentiating, or unfavorably treating a particular person in the supply or use of goods, services, transportation, commercial facilities, land, and residential facilities;
      • (c) Any act of favorably treating, excluding, differentiating, or unfavorable treating a particular person in the provision of education and training at or usage of educational facilities or vocational training institutions; and
      • (d) An act of sexual harassment [which means sexual comment or act made by employers, employees or workers of public institutions (which mean government institutions, local governments, schools established under Article 2 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Article 2 of the Higher Education Act and other laws, and public service-related organizations under Article 3(2)(1) of the Public Service Ethics Act) that causes the sense of sexually-related humiliation or degradation by using his/her position or in relation to business and etc.; or disadvantage in employment by reasons of refusal to respond to such sexual language, act or demand]
    3. The term "disability" means a physical, mental, and/or social condition that considerably impairs a person's personal or social activities over a long period of time
    Article 3 (Establishment and Independence of the National Human Rights Commission)
    1. The National Human Rights Commission (hereinafter referred to as the "Commission") shall be established to address matters regarding the protection and promotion of human rights under this Act.
    2. The Commission independently addresses matters which fall within the purview of its authority.
    Article 4 (Scope of Application)
    1. This Act shall apply to all citizens of the Republic of Korea and all foreigners residing therein.
  • CHAPTER II. ORGANIZATION AND OPERATION OF COMMISSION

    CHAPTER Ⅱ_ORGANIZATION AND OPERATION OF COMMISSION

    Article 5 (Composition of Commission)
    1. The Commission shall be comprised of eleven commissioners for human rights (hereinafter referred to as the "commissioner"), including one Chairperson and three standing commissioners.
    2. The President of the Republic of Korea shall appoint to be commissioners under the following subparagraphs among persons of whom possess professional knowledge of and experience with human rights matters and have been recognized to be capable of fairly and independently performing duties for the protection and promotion of human rights
      • ① Four persons selected by the National Assembly (including two standing commissioners)
      • ② Four persons nominated by the President of the Republic of Korea
      • ③ Three persons nominated by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
    3. The President of the Republic of Korea shall appoint the Chairperson of the Commission from among the commissioners. In this case, the Chairperson shall undergo personnel hearings held by the National Assembly.
    4. The Chairperson and standing commissioners of the Commission shall be appointed as public officials in political service.
    5. Four or more of the commissioners shall be women.
    6. In the event the term of office of a commissioner expires, he/she shall continuously perform his/her duties until his/her successor is appointed.
    Article 6 (Duties of Chairperson of Commission)
    1. The Chairperson of the Commission shall represent the Commission and exercise overall control of the affairs thereof.
    2. In the event the Chairperson of the Commission is unable to perform his/her duties for any unforeseen reason, a standing commissioner, whom the Chairperson designates in advance, shall act on behalf of the Chairperson.
    3. The Chairperson of the Commission may attend the National Assembly and state opinions on affairs falling under the jurisdiction of the Commission, and shall, if required by the National Assembly, attend thereupon and make a report or reply.
    4. The Chairperson of the Commission may attend the State Council, present his/her opinion, and recommend that the Prime Minister introduce bills on matters falling under the mandate of the Commission (including the draft of the Presidential Decree regarding the enforcement of this Act).
    5. When the Chairperson of the Commission performs duties related to the budget of the Commission, he/she shall be deemed to be the head of a central governmental institution under the provision of Article 6 (3) of the National Fiscal Act.
    Article 7 (Term of Office of Chairperson and Commissioners)
    1. The term of office of the Chairperson and commissioners of the Commission shall be three years, but the consecutive appointment may be extended only once.
    2. In the event the position of a commissioner is vacated, the President of the Republic of Korea shall appoint a successor within 30 days on the date of such vacancy.
    3. The term of office of the commissioner who is appointed as a successor shall start anew.
    Article 8 (Guarantee of Commissioners' Status)
    1. A commissioner shall not be removed from his/her office against his/her will unless he/she has been sentenced to imprisonment without labor or a heavier punishment; however, in the event it is extremely difficult or impossible for him/her to perform his/her duties due to any physical or mental handicap, he/she may be dismissed from his/her office by the resolution of consent of 2/3 or more of all commissioners.
    Article 9 (Disqualifications of Commissioner)
    1. A person who falls under any of the following subparagraphs shall be disqualified for the position of commissioner:
      • ① A person other than a citizen of the Republic of Korea;
      • ② A person who falls under any subparagraph of Article 33 of the State Public Officials Act;
      • ③ A member of a political party; and
      • ④ A person who is registered as a candidate in any such election as held under the Act on the Election of Public Officials and the Prevention of Election Malpractices.
    2. In the event a commissioner comes to fall under any subparagraph of paragraph (1) above, he/she shall, ipso facto, retire from his/her office.
    Article 10 (Prohibition of Concurrent Offices of Commissioner)
    1. A commissioner shall neither concurrently take the office falling under any of the following subparagraphs nor perform the duties thereof during his/her tenure of office:
      • ① A position of the National Assembly or any local council;
      • ② A position of a public official of any other state institution or local government (excluding a public educational official); and
      • ③ Other positions or affairs as determined by the rule of the Commission.
    2. The commissioners shall neither join a political party nor participate in political activities.
    Article 11 Article 12 (Standing Commissioners Committee and Subcommittees)
    1. The Commission may establish subcommittees, including the Standing Commissioners Committee, Human Rights Violation Rectification Committee, and Discrimination Remedy Committee (hereinafter referred to as the "subcommittees"), as it may deem appropriate to perform the duties of the Commission.
    2. The Standing Commissioners Committee shall be composed of the Chairperson of the Commission and the standing commissioners. Each subcommittee shall be made up of 3 to 5 commissioners.
    3. The Standing Commissioners Committee and subcommittees shall be able to establish special committees on gender and disability, etc. in order to research and review issues for deliberation.
    4. Rules of the Commission shall regulate necessary matters: the composition, work and operation of Standing Commissioners Commission, subcommittees and special committee; and the qualifications, term and appointment of members of special committees.
    Article 13 (Meeting Proceedings and Resolution Quorum)
    1. The Chairperson of the Commission shall preside over the meeting of the Commission, and the resolution thereof shall, except as otherwise provided by this Act, require the consent of a majority of the incumbent commissioners.
    2. The resolutions of the meetings of the Standing Commissioners Committee and subcommittees shall require the attendance and consent of at least 3 members of each subcommittee.
    Article 14 (Publication of Proceedings)
    1. The proceedings of the Commission shall be made public, provided that they may not be made public if deemed necessary by the Commission, Standing Commissioners Committee or subcommittees.
    Article 15 (Advisory Organ)
    1. The Commission may establish an advisory organ in order to seek advice on matters necessary for the performance of its duties.
    2. Necessary matters concerning the organization and operation of the advisory organ shall be prescribed by the rule of the Commission.
    Article 16 (Secretariat)
    1. A Secretariat shall be established to address the general affairs of the Commission.
    2. There shall be one Secretary General and necessary staff members in the Secretariat, and the Secretary General shall be appointed by the President of the Republic of Korea on the recommendation of the Chairperson of the Commission after due deliberation of the Commission.
    3. Public officials of Grade Ⅴ or above, or those registered with the Senior Civil Service Pool System belonging to the Secretariat shall be appointed by the President of the Republic of Korea on the recommendation of the Chairperson of the Commission, and those of Grade Ⅵ or lower shall be appointed by the Chairperson of the Commission.
    4. The Secretary General shall, under the direction of the Chairperson of the Commission, exercise overall control of the affairs of the Secretariat, and command and supervise the staff belonging thereto.
    Article 17 (Establishment of Disciplinary Committee)
    1. Under the Commission, there shall be a disciplinary committee established to resolve disciplinary action against the staff belonging to the Commission.
    2. The composition, authority and deliberation procedure, types and effects of disciplinary actions, and other necessary matters shall be prescribed by the rule of the Commission.
    Article 18 (Composition and Operation of Commission)
    1. Except as provided by this Act, matters necessary for the organization of the Commission shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree and those necessary for its operation shall be prescribed by the rule of the Commission.
  • CHAPTER III. DUTIES AND AUTHORITIES OF COMMISSION

    CHAPTER Ⅲ_DUTIES AND AUTHORITIES OF COMMISSION

    Article 19 (Duties)
    1. The Commission shall perform duties falling under the following subparagraphs:
    2. Investigation and research with respect to statutes (including bills submitted to the National Assembly), legal systems, policies and practices related to human rights; and recommendation for their improvement or presentation of opinions thereon;
    3. Investigation and remedy with respect to human rights violations;
    4. Investigation and remedy with respect to discriminatory acts;
    5. Survey on human rights conditions;
    6. Education and public awareness on human rights;
    7. Presentation and recommendation of guidelines for categories of human rights violations, standards for their identification, and preventive measures therefore;
    8. Research and recommendation or presentation of opinions with respect to the accession of any international treaty on human rights and the implementation of the treaty;
    9. Cooperation with organizations and individuals engaged in any activity for the protection and promotion of human rights;
    10. Exchanges and cooperation with international organizations related to human rights and human rights institutions of other countries; and
    11. Other matters deemed necessary to protect and promote human rights.
    Article 20 (Consultation with State Institutions)
    1. If the head of a related state administrative institution or local governmental institution intends to enact or amend any statute that includes contents likely to affect the protection and promotion of human rights, he/she shall notify the Commission in advance.
    2. The Commission may, if deemed necessary for the performance of its duties, request the consultation of state organs, local governments, and other public or private organizations (hereinafter referred to as the "related entities").
    3. Those related entities which receive a request under paragraph (2) shall faithfully cooperate therewith unless there exists any justifiable reason not to do so.
    Article 21 (Hearing of Commission's Opinion in Preparing State Party Report)
    1. If a relevant state administrative institution prepares a state party's report under any international treaty on human rights, it shall hear opinions of the Commission.
    Article 22 (Submission of Materials and Reference for Information)
    1. The Commission may, if deemed necessary for the performance of its duties, require the related entities to submit necessary materials to it or refer to the said entities for information.
    2. The Commission may require any person who is deemed to have professional knowledge or experience or know facts necessary for the performance of its duties to present himself/herself in order to hear his/her statement.
    3. Those entities which are so required under paragraph (1) shall, without delay, cooperate.
    Article 23 (Hearing)
    1. The Commission may, if deemed necessary for the performance of its duties, require the representative of the related entity, the interested persons or other persons who possess knowledge and experience on relevant matters to present themselves and hear their statements of the relevant facts and opinions.
    2. The procedures and methods of hearings held by the Commission under paragraph (1) above shall be prescribed by the rule of the Commission.
    Article 24 (Visit and Inspection of Facilities)
    1. The Commission (including the Standing Commissioners Committee and subcommittees; the same will apply hereinafter in this Article) may, if deemed necessary, visit detention or protective facilities to conduct an investigation by its resolution.
    2. A commissioner, who visits and investigates under paragraph 1, may be accompanied by members of the staff of the Commission and/or experts if deemed necessary, and may delegate the investigation to them by specifying its scope. In this case, the experts as so delegated shall, if investigating the said matter, be accompanied by members of the staff of the Commission.
    3. The commissioner, member of the staff of the Commission or expert, who visits and investigates under paragraph 2 (hereinafter referred to as the "commissioner, etc." in this Article), shall show the interested persons identification verifying his/her authority to do so, and the head or administrator of the detention or protective facility visited and investigated by the commissioner, etc. shall immediately provide conveniences necessary for such visit and investigation.
    4. The commissioner, etc., who visits and investigates under paragraph 2, may hold an interview with staff members or detainees of the relevant detention or protective facility (hereinafter referred to as a "facility detainee") and may also have them present oral or written statements or opinions.
    5. Staff members of the relevant detention or protective facility may be present at an interview with facility detainees held by the commissioner, etc., provided that the content of the said interview shall be prohibited from being recorded
    6. Other necessary matters for the procedures and methods of visit and investigation of detention or protective facilities shall be prescribed by the Presidential Decree.
    Article 25 (Recommendation of Improvement or Rectification of Policies and Practices)
    1. The Commission may, if deemed necessary to protect and promote human rights, recommend related entities to improve or rectify specific policies and practices, or may present opinions thereon.
    2. The heads of related entities receiving any recommendation under paragraph 1 shall respect and endeavor to implement the said recommendation.
    3. In the event the heads of related entities receiving any recommendation under paragraph 1 fail to implement the said recommendation, they shall clarify in writing the reasons for such failure to the Commission.
    4. The Commission may, if deemed necessary, publish its recommendation and opinions under paragraph 1 and the reasons clarified by the heads of related entities under paragraph 3.
    Article 26 (Education and Public Awareness on Human Rights)
    1. The Commission shall conduct education and raise public awareness necessary to awaken and elevate public consciousness of human rights.
    2. The Commission may consult with the Minister of Education, Science and Technology to include content concerning human rights in school curricula under Article 23 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
    3. The Commission may consult with the heads of schools established under Article 2 of the Higher Education Act on necessary matters for the development of human rights education and research.
    4. The Commission may consult with the heads of related state institutions or local governments to include human rights subject matter in employment or promotion examinations and training or education courses for public officials.
    5. The Commission may, in consultation with the heads of research institutions or study associations established under Article 8 and Article 18 of the Act on the Establishment, Operation and Fosterage of Government-Invested Research Institutions, and Article 8 and Article 18 of the Act on the Establishment, Operation and Fosterage of Government-Invested Research Institutions in Science and Technology Field, request them to conduct research on human rights or to carry out such research jointly with the Commission.
    6. The Commission may recommend continuing-educational organizations or facilities established under Article 2 (2) of the Social Education Act to include human rights-related contents in their educational programs.
    Article 27 (Human Rights Library)
    1. The Commission may establish a human rights library.
    2. The human rights library shall collect, arrange, and preserve domestic and foreign information and reference materials concerning human rights, and may provide them for the public.
    3. Necessary matters for the establishment and operation of the human rights library shall be prescribed by the rule of the Commission.
    Article 28 (Presentation of Opinions to Courts and Constitutional Court)
    1. In the event a trial, which significantly affects the protection and promotion of human rights, is pending, the Commission may, if requested by a court or the Constitutional Court or if deemed necessary by the Commission, present its opinions on de jure matters to the competent court or the Constitutional Court.
    2. In the event a trial related to matters investigated or dealt with by the Commission under the Chapter Ⅳ is pending, the Commission may, if requested by a court or the Constitutional Court or if deemed necessary by the Commission, present the opinions on de facto and de jure matters to the competent division of the court or the Constitutional Court.
    Article 29 (Report Preparation, etc.)
    1. The Commission shall prepare an annual report on its activities for the preceding year, including the human rights situation and any improvement measures, and report thereon to the President of the Republic of Korea and the National Assembly.
    2. Except for the report under paragraph 1, the Commission may, if deemed necessary, present any other special report to the President of the Republic of Korea and the National Assembly.
    3. The related entities, etc. may present to the Commission their opinions on the reports under paragraphs 1 and 2 as well as on the results of the measures which they have already taken or plans of measures to be taken.
    4. The Commission shall open the reports under paragraphs 1 and 2 to the public, provided that any matter which requires confidentiality on the ground of national security, or protection of reputation or privacy of an individual, or the release of which is restrained by any other Acts, may not be made public.
  • CHAPTER Ⅳ. INVESTIGATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND DISCRIMINATORY ACTS, AND REMEDY

    CHAPTER Ⅳ_INVESTIGATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND DISCRIMINATORY ACTS, AND REMEDY

    Article 30 (Matters Subject to Investigation of Commission)
    1. In any case falling under the following subparagraphs, a victim of a human rights violation or discriminatory act (hereinafter referred to as a "victim"), or any person or organization possessing knowledge about a human rights violation may file a petition to the Commission:
      • ①. In the case such human rights as guaranteed in Articles 10 through 22 of the Constitution of the Republic of Korea are violated by the performance of duties (excluding the legislation of the National Assembly and the trial of a court or the Constitutional Court) of state organs, local governments, schools established under Article 2 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Article 2 of the Higher Education Act and other laws, and public service-related organizations under Article 321 of the Public Service Ethics Act or detention or protective facilities; or
      • ② In the case there exists a discriminatory act or any violation of the right to equality committed by a legal body, organization, or private individual.
    2. Even if a petition under paragraph 1 is not filed, the Commission may initiate an ex officio investigation if it deems that there exists reasonable cause to believe that human rights violations or discriminatory acts have been committed and that the cases are serious.
    3. Necessary matters concerning the procedures and methods of a petition under paragraph 1 shall be prescribed by the rule of the Commission.
    Article 31 (Guarantee of Petition Right of Detainee of Detention or Protective Facility)
    1. If a detainee of any relevant detention or protective facility intends to file a petition to the Commission, the public official or staff belonging to the said facility (hereinafter referred to as the "public official concerned, etc.") shall immediately afford such detainee a place, time, and the conveniences necessary to prepare the written petition.
    2. If any detainee desires to file a petition in the presence of a commissioner or the staff member of the Commission, the public official concerned, etc. shall immediately notify the Commission.
    3. The public official concerned, etc. shall immediately send the written petition prepared by a detainee under paragraph 1 to the Commission and deliver the voucher of the document receipt which is issued by the Commission to the said detainee. In the case of the notice under paragraph 2, a document verifying such notice and a document of fixed interview date, which are both issued by the Commission, shall be delivered immediately to the same detainee.
    4. If the Commission is informed under paragraph 2 or deems that there exists any reasonable cause to believe that a detainee desires to file a petition, it shall have a commissioner or its staff member visit the related detention or protective facility to receive an oral or written petition from the said detainee. In this case, the commissioner or its staff member who receives the petition shall immediately prepare a document verifying such receipt and deliver that document to the same detainee.
    5. With respect to the visit to the related detention or protective facility and receipt of any petition by a commissioner or the staff member of the Commission under paragraph 4 of this Article, Article 24 3 and 4 of this Act shall apply mutatis mutandis.
    6. The staff of the related detention or protective facility shall not participate in an interview that a commissioner or the staff member of the Commission conducts with detainees who have filed petitions (including those who intend to do so), nor hear or record the contents of such interview; however, the said staff may watch them from a distance of visibility.
    7. The public official concerned, etc. shall not peruse a written petition or document prepared by a detainee for the purpose of presentation thereof to the Commission.
    8. Measures that detention or protective facilities shall take to guarantee the independent preparation and presentation of a written petition by a detainee, and any other necessary procedures and methods shall be prescribed by the Presidential Decree.
    Article 32 (Rejection of Petition, etc.)
    1. The Commission shall reject a petition that falls under any of the following subparagraphs:
      • ①. In the case the contents of a petition do not fall within the scope of the matters subject to investigation by the Commission;
      • ②. In the case the contents of a petition are deemed manifestly false or ill-founded;
      • ③. In the case a petition is filed by any person other than the victim, but it is manifest that the victim does not desire the investigation thereof;
      • ④. In the case a petition is filed after one or more years have elapsed since the facts causing the petition occurred, provided that this shall not apply to the case if the statutory limitation for civil case and public prosecution with respect to such facts is not completed and the Commission determines to conduct an investigation;
      • ⑤. In the case a petition is filed to the Commission at the same time a trial at a court or the Constitutional Court, a criminal investigation by an investigation agency or a procedure for the relief of rights under any other Act is in progress or terminated with respect to the facts causing the petition, provided that this shall not apply if the Commission receives a petition against cases identical to those falling under crimes of Articles 123 through 125 of the Criminal Act which are being investigated by the investigation agency;
      • ⑥. In the case a petition is filed under any pseudonym or anonym;
      • ⑦. In the case the Commission deems it inappropriate to investigate a petition;
      • ⑧. In the case a petition is withdrawn by the complainant who filed it;
      • ⑨. In the case a petition, with the facts identical to any other petition which has already been dismissed by the Commission, is filed; and
      • ⑩. In the case the purport of a petition is contrary to the final judgment of a court or decision of the Constitutional Court regarding the facts causing the petition.
    2. In the case the Commission rejects a petition under paragraph 1, it may, if deemed necessary, deliver the petition to related entities. In this case, those related entities to which the petition is delivered shall, if requested by the Commission, inform the Commission of the results of treatment thereof without delay.
    3. The Commission may, even after initiating the investigation on a petition, reject it in any case falling under any subparagraph of paragraph 1.
    4. In the case the Commission rejects or delivers a petition, it shall immediately inform the petitioner, by specifying the cause.
    5. In the case the Commission informs the petitioner under paragraph (4), the Commission may, if deemed necessary, advise the relevant victim or petitioner on the procedures and measures for the relief of his/her rights violation.
    Article 33 (Other Remedies and Transfer)
    1. In the case the Commission deems that the contents of a petition show a clear intention to file a petition to any relevant state institution with authority, according to the procedure for remedies as prescribed by any other Acts, it shall transfer, without delay, such petition to such state institution.
    2. In the case, after the Commission initiates an investigation of a petition under Article 30 1, a criminal investigation of the petition with the same facts causing the petition is initiated by another petition or accusations of relevant victims, the said petition shall be transferred to the competent investigation agency.
    3. In the case the Commission delivers a petition under paragraphs 1 and 2, it shall, without delay, inform the petitioner, and those related entities to which the petition is transferred shall, if requested by the Commission, inform the Commission of the results of disposition thereof.
    Article 34 (Cooperation between Investigation Agency and Commission)
    1. If there exists any reasonable cause to believe that the facts causing a petition fall under criminal acts and it is deemed that there exists a necessity either for obtaining evidence or preventing the suspect thereof from escaping or destroying evidence, the Commission may request the Prosecutor General or the head of the competent investigation agency to initiate an investigation as well as to take necessary measures.
    2. The Prosecutor General or the head of the competent investigation agency who receives a request under paragraph 1 shall, without delay, inform the Commission of the results of the measures taken by him/her.
    Article 35 (Purpose of Investigation)
    1. The Commission shall endeavor to not impede the performance of functions of state institutions in the course of its investigation.
    2. The Commission shall not conduct an investigation for the purpose of infringing on the privacy of any individual, or unduly participating either in any pending judicial proceedings or in an indictment of any case under investigation.
    Article 36 (Methods of Investigation)
    1. The Commission may investigate petitions by such methods as prescribed in the following subparagraphs:
      • ①. To require a petitioner, a victim or the respondent (hereinafter referred to as the "party concerned"), or a person involved to be present, and submit a written statement or to hear his/her statement;
      • ②. To require the party concerned, a person involved or the related entity to submit such materials as deemed relevant to matters subject to investigation;
      • ③. To conduct an on-site inspection or evaluation of any such place, facility or material as deemed relevant to matters subject to investigation; and
      • ④. To refer to the party concerned, a person involved or the related entity, etc. for such facts or information as deemed relevant to matters subject to investigation.
    2. The Commission may, if deemed necessary for the investigation, have a commissioner, etc. visit any relevant place or facility to conduct an on-site inspection or evaluation of any place or facility. In this case, a commissioner, etc. may require any party concerned or person involved to present himself/herself and hear his/her statement at such place or facility.
    3. Any person who is required to submit a written statement under paragraph 1 shall do so within 14 days.
    4. The presence of the respondent under paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article may be required only if it is difficult to judge any relevant case by the very written statement of the person who commits a human rights violation or discriminatory act and if it is deemed that there exists any reasonable cause to believe that a human rights violation or discriminatory act under the provision of Article 30 1 occurred.
    5. A commissioner, etc. who conducts an investigation under paragraph 2 may require the head or a managing staff member of the relevant place or facility (hereinafter referred to as a "relevant person" in this Article) to submit the necessary materials or articles.
    6. A commissioner, etc. who conducts an investigation under paragraph 5 shall carry an identification card indicating his/her authority and show the card to the relevant persons.
    7. If the Commission requests the head of any relevant state institution to submit related materials or articles, or intends to conduct an on-site inspection or evaluation of the said materials, articles or relevant facilities, the head may reject such submission, inspection or evaluation by clearly explaining to the Commission that those materials, articles or facilities fall under any of the following subparagraphs. In this case, the Commission may request the head to identify any necessary matters and the head shall faithfully comply with such request:
      • ①. In the case the state's classified information has a substantial effect on national security or diplomatic relations; or
      • ②. Any case as deemed liable to cause a serious obstacle to any criminal investigation or pending trial.
    Article 37 (Authority to Interrogate or Inspect)
    1. If the Commission intends to know the location of materials or the concerned person necessary for the investigation under Article 36, it may interrogate such person whom the Commission has any reasonable cause to believe possesses knowledge of the contents thereof, or may inspect the documents and other articles which the Commission has any reasonable cause to believe include such contents.
    2. The provisions of Article 36 5 through 7 shall apply mutatis mutandis to the provision of paragraph 1.
    Article 38 (Recusal, etc. of Commissioner)
    1. A commissioner (including a conciliation member under Article 41; the same shall apply hereinafter in this Article) shall, if falling under any of the following subparagraphs, be excluded from participation in the deliberation and resolution on the relevant petition:
      • ①. In the case the commissioner or any person who is or was the commissioner's spouse is the party concerned of the relevant petition or holds any rights or obligations jointly with the party concerned;
      • ②. In the case the commissioner is or was a blood relative of the party concerned of the relevant petition;
      • ③. In the case the commissioner has testified or made an evaluation with respect to the relevant petition;
      • ④. In the case the commissioner participates or participated in the relevant petition as an agent of the party concerned; or
      • ⑤. In the case the commissioner is or was involved in any criminal investigation, trial or relief procedures under any other Act with respect to the relevant petition.
    2. The party concerned may, if there exists any cause for difficulty in expecting the impartial deliberation and resolution of the commissioner, make a request for recusal to the Chairperson of the Commission, who shall, in turn, make a decision thereon without referring the request to the Commission for resolution; however, if it is inadequate for the Chairperson of the Commission to make the decision, the said request shall be referred to the Commission for the resolution.
    3. Any commissioner may voluntarily refrain from the deliberation and resolution on the relevant petition, if he/she falls under either any of subparagraphs of paragraph 1 or paragraph 2.
    Article 39 (Dismissal of Petition)
    1. The Commission shall dismiss a petition if the contents thereof fall under any of the following subparagraphs as a result of an investigation:
      • ①. In the case the contents of a petition are false or there is no evidence to support the contents
      • ②. In the case a petition is proven to be unrelated to any human rights violation or discriminatory act defined under Article 30 1 as a result of an investigation; and
      • ③. In the case it is deemed that any further remedy is not required because any injury related to the petition has already been relieved.
    2. The Commission shall, if dismissing a petition, inform the party concerned of the result and grounds.
    Article 40 (Recommendation of Compromise)
    1. With respect to any petition of which the investigation is in progress or completed, the Commission may propose to both parties concerned a remedy necessary for the fair resolution of the case concerning the petition, and may recommend a compromise.
    Article 41 (Establishment and Composition of Conciliation Committee)
    1. Sector-specific committees of the conciliation committee including gender, disability, etc. may be established under the Commission to ensure the speedy and fair settlement of conciliation.
    2. Members of the conciliation committee (hereinafter referred to as the “conciliation member”) shall be appointed by the Chairperson of the Commission among the commissioners and persons to special committees, including gender and disability, etc, who fall under any of the following subparagraphs:
      • ①. Persons who have professional knowledge of and experience with human rights affairs and whose term of service related to human rights to a state institution or non-governmental organization is ten years or more;
      • ②. Persons whose term of service as a judge, public prosecutor, military judge advocate or attorney-at-law is ten years or more; or
      • ③. Persons whose term of service as assistant professor (or corresponding position thereto) or higher either to a college or to an authorized research institute is ten years or more.
    3. A meeting held by the conciliation committee shall be comprised of persons under each of the following subparagraphs:
      • ①. One commissioner appointed by the Chairperson from among the conciliation committee members;
      • ②. Two members of sector-specific committees of the conciliation committee appointed by the Chairperson to attend a meeting, regulated under 2.
    4. Necessary matters concerning appointment and term of office of members, composition, operation, and the procedures of the conciliation committee, etc. shall be prescribed by the rule of the Commission.
    5. With respect to matters concerning the procedures for conciliation of the conciliation committee which are not prescribed both by this Act and by the rule of the Commission, the Judicial Conciliation of Civil Disputes Act shall apply mutatis mutandis.
    Article 42 (Conciliation)
    1. If, with respect to the relevant petition regarding a human rights violation case or a discriminatory act, the conciliation committee may begin the process of coordinating a petition at the request of the party concerned or at ex officio referral by the Commission.
    2. The conciliation shall be completed at the time when, after the procedures are initiated, both parties concerned enter into the compromised matters of the document of conciliation by affixing their signature and seal, after which the conciliation committee recognizes it.
    3. If both parties concerned fail to reach a compromise during the course of the procedures for conciliation, the conciliation committee may make a decision in lieu of the conciliation in order to fairly settle the case.
    4. The decision in lieu of conciliation may include any of the following:
      • ①. Stoppage of the human rights violation or discriminatory act subject to the investigation;
      • ②. Restitution or compensation for damages, or other necessary remedies; or
      • ③. Measures necessary for the prevention of recurrence of the same or similar human rights violation or discriminatory act.
    5. If the conciliation committee makes a decision in lieu of conciliation, it shall serve both parties concerned with the written decision without delay.
    6. If any party concerned fails to raise an objection within 2 weeks after he/she has been served with the written decision under paragraph (5), he/she shall be deemed to accept the conciliation.
    Article 43 (Effect of Conciliation)
    1. The conciliation under Article 42 2 and the decision in lieu of conciliation shall have the same effect as a settlement in court, provided that there are no objections under Article 42 6.
    Article 44 (Recommendation of Remedies, etc.)
    1. If the Commission concludes, as a result of the investigation of any petition, that a human rights violation or any discriminatory act occurred, it may recommend to the respondent or the head of the organ or organization to which he/she belongs or the supervisory institution thereof (hereinafter referred to as the "institution, etc. to which the respondent belongs") any of the following subparagraphs:
      • ①. Implementation of the decision in lieu of settlements under the subparagraphs of Article 42 4;
      • ②. Rectification or improvement of any relevant statute, institution, policy or practice.
    2. Article 25 2 through 5 shall apply mutatis mutandis to the head of the institution, etc. to which the respondent belongs, who has received recommendation under paragraph 1 of this Article.
    Article 45 (Accusation and Recommendation of Disciplinary Action)
    1. If, as a result of the investigation of any petition, the Commission deems that the contents of the petition correspond to an act of crime against which criminal punishment is required, it may file an accusation to the Prosecutor General, except, in the case the accused is military personnel or civilian personnel in the military service, the accusation may be filed to the Chief of General Staff of the armed force to which the said accused belongs or to the Minister of National Defense.
    2. If the Commission finds any violation of human rights or discriminatory acts after the investigation of any petition, it may recommend disciplinary action against the respondent or any other person responsible for the same violation to the head of the institution, etc. to which he/she belongs.
    3. The Prosecutor General, the Chief of General Staff of the armed force, or the Minister of National Defense, who has received an accusation under paragraph 1, shall complete the criminal investigation within 3 months after receipt and notify the Commission of the results thereof, provided that he/she shall submit a reason for failing to do so within 3 months.
    4. The head of the institution, etc. to which the respondent belongs, who has received a recommendation from the Commission under paragraph 2, shall respect the said recommendation and notify the Commission of the results of disposition thereof.
    Article 46 (Provision of Opportunity to State Opinion)
    1. The Commission shall provide the respondent with an opportunity to state his/her opinion before either making a recommendation or taking measure under Article 44 or 45.
    2. In any such case as referred to in paragraph 1, any party concerned or interested person may state his/her oral or written opinion, or present necessary materials to the Commission.
    Article 47 (Request for Legal Aid for Victim)
    1. The Commission may, if deemed necessary to investigate petitions; obtain evidence; or relieve victims, request the Korea Legal Aid Corporation or any other institution to render legal aid to the said victims.
    2. Legal aid under paragraph 1 shall not be requested against the explicit will of the relevant victim.
    3. Necessary matters concerning the procedures, contents, and methods of legal aid under paragraph 1 shall be prescribed by the rule of the Commission.
    Article 48 (Recommendation of Urgent Relief Measures)
    1. The Commission may, in the case, after receiving a petition, it deems that it is highly probable that a human rights violation or any discriminatory act subject to investigation is in progress and that it is likely to cause irrecoverable damage if left as violated, recommend the respondent or the head of the institution, etc. to which he/she belongs to take an ex officio measure that falls under any of the following subparagraphs at the request of the petitioner or victim prior to making a decision on the petition:
      • ①. Provision of medical service, meals or clothing;
      • ②. Participation in the on-site inspection and evaluation of any relevant place, facility or materials, or the verification and evaluation thereof which is conducted by any other organ;
      • ③. Change of place of detention or accommodation of detainees;
      • ④. Stoppage of human rights violations or any discriminatory act;
      • ⑤. Measures to displace any public official who is deemed to violate human rights or commit a discriminatory act from his/her assigned position;
      • ⑥. Other necessary matters for protecting the life and/or security of person of the victim.
    2. The Commission may, if deemed necessary, take any necessary measures for protecting the life, security of person, and reputation of any party concerned or interested person, and/or obtaining evidence or preventing the destruction thereof, or recommend the interested person and the head of the institution, etc. to which he/she belongs to take such measures.
    Article 49 (Confidentiality of Investigation and Conciliation)
    1. The investigation of any petition and the conciliation and deliberation conducted by the Commission shall be confidential, provided that they may be made public if the Commission makes a resolution in favor thereof.
    Article 50 (Release of Results of Settlement)
    1. The Commission may release the contents and results of any investigation and conciliation, the recommendation to the related entities, and the measures taken by such entities under this Chapter, provided that this shall not apply to any case in which such a release is restrained by any other Act or is likely to infringe on the privacy of any individual.
  • CHAPTER Ⅴ. SUPPLEMENTARY PROVISIONS

    CHAPTER Ⅴ_SUPPLEMENTARY PROVISIONS

    Article 51 (Prohibition of False Impersonation)
    1. Any person shall not exercise the authority of the Commission by falsely pretending to be a commissioner or its staff.
    Article 52 (Prohibition of Disclosure of Secret)
    1. A person, who is or was a commissioner, advisory member or staff member, and any other person who performed or performs affairs of the Commission after having been dispatched or entrusted by the Commission, shall not disclose any confidential information that is acquired by him/her through any event in relation to the performance of their duties.
    Article 53 (Prohibition of Use of Similar Name)
    1. No person other than the Commission shall use the name of the National Human Rights Commission or any other name that is similar thereto.
    Article 54 (Dispatch of Public Official, etc.)
    1. The Commission may, if deemed necessary for the performance of its duties, request the head of any related entity, etc. to dispatch a public official or staff member under his/her control to the Commission.
    2. The head of the related entity, etc. who is requested to dispatch a public official or staff member under his/her control to the Commission under paragraph 1 may do so in consultation with the Commission.
    3. The public official or staff member who is dispatched to the Commission under paragraph 2 shall perform affairs of the Commission, separate from the entity to which he/she belongs.
    4. The head of the related entity, etc. who has dispatched a public official or staff member under his/her control to the Commission under paragraph 2 shall not take unfavorable measures against the said public official or staff in terms of personnel matters and treatment.
    Article 55 (Prohibition of Unfavorable Treatment, and Supports)
    1. Any person shall not be subject to removal from his/her office, transfer to another position, disciplinary action and unjust treatment, or other unfavorable measures in status or treatment on account of his/her petition, statement, witness, presentation of materials or reply under this Act.
    2. The Commission may give any necessary support or reward to a person who either reveals the fact of any human rights violation or discriminatory act, or finds and presents evidence or materials.
    3. The contents and procedures of support or reward under paragraph 2 and other necessary matters shall be prescribed by the rule of the Commission.
  • CHAPTER Ⅵ. PENAL PROVISIONS

    CHAPTER Ⅵ_PENAL PROVISIONS

    Article 56 (Obstruction of Performance of Human Rights Protection Duties)
    1. A person who falls under any of the following subparagraphs shall be punished by imprisonment for no more than 5 years or by a fine not exceeding 30 million won:
      • ① A person who assaults or intimidates a commissioner or staff member who performs affairs of the Commission;
      • ② A person who assaults or intimidates a commissioner or staff member for the purpose of coercing or hindering any act in relation to the performance of duties of the said commissioner or staff or compelling him/her to resign from his/her office;
      • ③ A person who obstructs the performance of duties of a commissioner or staff member by any deceitful plan; and
      • ④ A person who destroys, forges or alters any evidence related to a case involving a violation of any other person's human rights or any discriminatory act subject to the investigation by the Commission under Chapter IV of this Act, or uses any such forged or altered.
    2. If a blood relative commits a crime under paragraph 1 4 for a person who is alleged to have committed a human rights violation or discriminatory act, he/she shall not be punished.
    Article 57 (Obstruction of Preparation of Written Petition)
    1. A person who fails to permit or obstructs any petition in violation of the provision of Article 31 shall be punished by imprisonment for no more than 3 years or by a fine not exceeding 10 million won.
    Article 58 (False Impersonation)
    1. A person who exercises the authority of the Commission by falsely pretending to be a commissioner or its staff in violation of the provision of Article 51 shall be punished by imprisonment for no more than 2 years or by a fine not exceeding 7 million won.
    Article 59 (Disclosure of Secret)
    1. A person who discloses any such confidential information that came to his/her knowledge or acquired by him/her through any event in relation to the performance of their duties in violation of Article 52 shall be punished by imprisonment with or without labor for no more than 2 years or by qualification suspension for no more than 5 years.
    Article 60 (Obstruction of Urgent Relief Measures)
    1. A person who obstructs the measures taken by the Commission under Article 48 1 or 2 shall be punished by imprisonment for no more than one year or by a fine not exceeding 5 million won.
    Article 61 (Violation of Guarantee of Petition Right of Detainee)
    1. A person who violates the provisions of Article 31 6 or 7 shall be punished by a fine not exceeding 10 million won.
    Article 62 (Legal Fiction in Application of Penal Provisions)
    1. Any person other than a public official among the commissioners of the Commission shall be deemed to be a public official in the application of penal provisions under the Criminal Act or any other Act.
    Article 63 (Fine for Negligence)
    1. A person who falls under any of the following subparagraphs shall be punished by a fine for negligence not exceeding 10 million won:
      • ① A person who refuses, obstructs or evades either a visit and investigation under the provision of Article 24 1 or an on-site inspection under the provision of Article 36 without any justifiable reason;
      • ② A person who fails to comply with the request for submitting a written statement or presenting himself/herself by the Commission under the provision of Article 36 1 1 or 2 without any justifiable reason; and
      • ③ A person who fails to comply with the request for submission of materials and the reference for any facts under the provisions of Article 36 1 2 and 4 or 5 without any justifiable reason, or submits false materials.
    2. A person who violates the provisions of Article 53 shall be punished by a fine for negligence not exceeding 3 million won.
    3. A fine for negligence as prescribed in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be imposed by the Chairperson of the Commission in accordance with the Presidential Decree.
    4. A person who is dissatisfied with any disposition of the fine for negligence as prescribed in paragraph 3 may raise an objection to the Chairperson of the Commission within 30 days after being notified of such disposition.
    5. If a person who is subject to a disposition of the fine for negligence under paragraph 3 raises an objection under paragraph 4, the imposition authority shall, without delay, notify the competent court, which, in turn, shall proceed to trial on a fine for negligence pursuant to the Non-Contentious Case Litigation Procedure Act.
    6. If an objection is not raised within the period as prescribed in paragraph 4 and the fine for negligence is not paid, the fine for negligence shall be collected by referring to the practices of dispositions on default of national taxes.
    ADDENDA (Act No. 6481, May 24, 2001)
    1. (Enforcement Date) This Act shall enter into force 6 months after the date of its promulgation, provided that the appointment of the commissioners and staff of the Commission, the enactment and promulgation of its rule concerning the enforcement of this Act, and the preparation for its establishment may be conducted before this Act enters into force.
    2. (Application Example concerning Commencement of Term of Office of Commissioners) The term of office of those commissioners who are initially appointed under this Act shall be deemed to commence on the date when this Act enters into force.
    3. (Enactment of the Presidential Decree) The Chairperson of the Commission may recommend the Prime Minister to submit the draft of the Presidential Decree concerning the enforcement of this Act.
    ADDENDA
    1. ① (Enforcement Date) This Act shall enter into force 6 months after the date of its promulgation, provided that the appointment of the commissioners and staff of the Commission, the enactment and promulgation of its rule concerning the enforcement of this Act, and the preparation for its establishment may be conducted before this Act enters into force.
    2. (Application Example concerning Commencement of Term of Office of Commissioners) The term of office of those commissioners who are initially appointed under this Act shall be deemed to commence on the date when this Act enters into force.
    3. (Enactment of the Presidential Decree) The Chairperson of the Commission may recommend the Prime Minister to submit the draft of the Presidential Decree concerning the enforcement of this Act.
    ADDENDA (Civil Act)
    1. Article 1. (Enforcement Date) This Act shall enter into force on the date of its promulgation, provided that (….) Addenda Article 7 (except paragraph 2 and 29) will enter into force on January 1 of 2008.
    2. Articles 2 through 6 Omitted.
    3. Article 7. (Revisions of Other Laws)
    4. Paragraphs (1) through (6) Omitted.
    5. (7) Some parts of the National Human Rights Commission Act were revised as follows: In Article 56 (2), "blood relatives or the head of house of any person, or family members living with him/her" changed to "blood relatives."
    6. Paragraphs (8) through (29) Omitted.
    ADDENDA
    1. This Act shall enter into force on the date of its promulgation.
    ADDENDA (Medical Treatment and Custody Act)
    • Article 1. (Enforcement Date) This Act shall enter into force on the date of its promulgation.
    • Articles 2 through 7 Omitted.
    • Article 8. (Revisions of Other Laws) Paragraphs (1) through (6) Omitted.
    • (7) Some parts of the National Human Rights Commission Act were revised as follows:
    • Items of Article 2 (2) (a) are as follows:
    • (a) Prison, prison for the youth, detention center and its branch, facility for probation, institute of forensic psychiatry, juvenile reformatory, and juvenile classification review board;
    • Paragraphs (8) through (9) Omitted.
    ADDENDA (State Public Officials Act)
    • Article 1. (Enforcement Date) This Act shall enter into force as of July 1, 2006.
    • Articles 2 through 5 Omitted.
    • Article 6. (Revisions of Other Laws) Paragraphs (1) through (12) Omitted.
    • (13) Some parts of the National Human Rights Commission Act were revised as follows: In Article 16 (3), “Public officials of Grade Ⅴ or above” changed to “Public officials of Grade Ⅴ or above, or those registered with the Senior Civil Service Pool System belonging to the Secretariat.”
    • Paragraphs (14) through (68) Omitted.
    ADDENDA (National Finance Act)
    • Article 1. (Enforcement Date) This Act shall enter into force as of January 1, 2007.
    • Articles 2 through 10 Omitted.
    • Article 11. (Revisions of Other Laws) Paragraphs (1) through (11) Omitted.
    • (12) Some parts of the National Human Rights Commission Act were revised as follows: In Article 6 (5), “Article 14 of the Budget and Account Act” changed to “Article 6 of the National Finance Act.”
    • Paragraphs (13) through (59) Omitted.
    • Article 12. Omitted.
    ADDENDA
    (Act on the Registration, Etc. of Family Relationship)
    • Article 1. (Enforcement Date) This Act shall enter into force as of January 1, 2008.
    • Articles 2. through 7 Omitted
    • Article 8. (Revisions of Other Laws) Paragraphs (1) through (28) Omitted.
    • (29) Some parts of the National Human Rights Commission Act were revised as follows: In Article 2 (4), “the place of one’s domicile, one’s legal domicile” changed to “first-registered domicile.”
    • Paragraphs (30) through (39) Omitted.
    • Article 9. Omitted
    ADDENDA (Public Service Ethics Act)
    • Article 1. (Enforcement Date) This Act shall enter into force after the date of its promulgation.
    • Article 2 Omitted.
    • Article 3. (Revisions of Other Laws) Paragraphs (1) through (2) Omitted.
    • (3) Some parts of the National Human Rights Commission Act were revised as follows: In Article 2 (6)(d), “Article 3 (1) (10) of the Public Service Ethics Act” changed to “Article 3 (1) (12) of the Public Service Ethics Act.”
    • Paragraph (4) Omitted.
    ADDENDA
    1. This Act shall enter into force on the date of its promulgation.
    ADDENDA
    1. Article 1. (Enforcement Date) This Act shall enter into force on the date of its promulgation provided that the amended provisions of Article 5(3) will enter into force on May 30 of 2012.
    2. Article 2. (Example of Application) The amended provisions of Article 25 (3) through (4) shall apply to the first case that a recommendation is received after this Act enters into force.
    Disclaimer
    1. In the case there is any divergence in interpretation of the National Human Rights Commission Act between the Korean and English versions, the Korean version shall prevail.
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