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Korea, South

Facing discrimination within our struggle

This morning I read an article entitled "Queer young South Koreans getting on the march" published in the Hankyoreh, a daily newspaper in South Korea. The article was about a Korean high school lesbian couple who has been together for almost 100 days (an important milestone in a South Korean relationship). The reporter wrote about how they loved each other but faced difficulties and discrimination as a sexual minority. As usual, some people on the internet responded to the article with hateful and unreasonable comments. I am very much used to such hatred but I was still hurt.

South Korea, a Difficult Place for Queers and Conscientious Objectors

South Korea is a conservative country with strong patriarchal and heteronormative traditions, where queers and conscientious objectors have difficulty fitting in. Especially because the South Korea military maintains a conscription system, the military strongly influences the way in which Korean men's gender identity is shaped. “Masculinity” is something that I don't have, but in the conservative South Korean society people find it odd and make queers like me feel ashamed and embarrassed - which often leads us to blame ourselves for not being able to satisfy society's criteria of normality.

Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Republic of Korea. Addendum: Response of the Republic of Korea on the Universal Periodic Review recommendations

A/HRC/8/40/Add.1

(...)

Recommendation:

"17. To recognize the right of conscientious objection by law, to decriminalize refusal of active military service and to remove any current prohibition from employment in Government or public organizations, in line with the recommendation by the Human Rights Committee (Slovenia);"

Response by the Government

"Alternative service programs for conscientious objectors are currently being studied."

Recommendation:

"Boycott Samsung" demonstration in London

Olympic sponsor's military construction threatens 'Peace Island'

A demonstration on Saturday 9 June outside the Samsung Store on Tottenham Court Road called for a boycott of Samsung products. Samsung is the main building contractor of the controversial $970 million naval base on Jeju Island, South Korea. Officially designated 'The Island of World Peace', Jeju is home to several UNESCO World Natural and Cultural Heritage sites, and promoted by the South Korean government as 'one of the seven wonders of the world'. The people of Gangjeong village, where construction threatens their way of life, farms and coastline, are mounting a non-violent resitance that's gaining international attention. Samsung and the Korean navy continue to enforce the project despite 94% opposition among the village electorate. Over 500 protestors have been arrested since construction started, many imprisoned, including the village mayor.

Jeon Gil-su (#1326)

Detention centre:
Start of detention:
  • 15 Feb 2012
End of detention:
  • 14 Aug 2013
Pays:
  • Corée du Sud
Description:
  • Conscientious objector. Sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment for refusing military service.

Jeon Gil-su (#1326)

Pays:
  • Corée du Sud
Activist type:
  • objecteur/trice de conscience
Statut:
  • Declared objector


Choi Gi-won (#1346)

Activist:
Detention centre:
Start of detention:
  • 12 Apr 2012
End of detention:
  • 11 Oct 2013
Pays:
  • Corée du Sud
Description:
  • Conscientious objector. Sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment for refusing military service.

Choi Gi-won (#457)

Pays:
  • Corée du Sud
Activist type:
  • objecteur/trice de conscience
Statut:
  • Declared objector


Hong Won-seok (#1121)

Detention centre:
Start of detention:
  • 22 Dec 2011
End of detention:
  • 21 May 2013
Pays:
  • Corée du Sud
Description:
  • Conscientious objector. Sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment for refusing military service.

Hong Won-seok (#1121)

Pays:
  • Corée du Sud
Activist type:
  • objecteur/trice de conscience
Statut:
  • Declared objector


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