Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Visit to National Human Rights Commission

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea(NHRCK) was established as an independent government body with the passage of the National Human Rights Commission Act on November 25th, 2001. This act mandated the Commission to protect and promote the human rights of every individual residing in the Republic of Korea. The Commission is responsible for investigating and settling complaints of human rights violations as outlined in the National Human Rights Commission Act. It is also mandated to conduct research and make recommendations with respect to the law, institutions, policies and practices as they relate to human rights. Along with promoting cooperation between domestic and international human rights organizations and bodies, the NHRCK conducts educational campaigns to elevate human rights awareness throughout civil society.

The goal of the Commission is to protect and promote human rights in Korea. Major functions of the Commission are policy recommendations on human rights issues, investigation and remedy of complaints related to human rights violations or discrimination, human rights education and cooperation with domestic and international bodies. The Commission is composed of 11 commissioners including the president, and the secretariat comprises 5 bureaus, and 18 divisions including the Human Rights Counseling Center and the Human Rights Library.

The NHRC was officially accredited by the International Co-ordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions in April of 2004. Human rights institutions have been set up in countries worldwide in order to strengthen the protection of human rights at national and regional levels. The NHRCK is also a regional member of the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions. In 1993 the General Assembly of the United Nations approved a set of principles, known as "the Paris Principles," with which it expects national human rights institutions to comply. These principles provide that national human rights commissions must be independent of government and must have sufficient powers in order to carry out their work. Today, the International Co-ordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions recognizes 63 such institutions at a national level worldwide.

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