Human Rights Bureau
Human Rights Bureau was established on May 3, 2006 by augmenting the previous Human Rights Division under the Legal Affairs Bureau to meet the growing needs at home and abroad for better protection of human rights.
The Bureau focuses on reforming laws and regulations to promote human rights; preventing human rights infringement in the course of law enforcement; and providing relevant remedies. It consists of Human Rights Policy Division, Human Rights Support Division, Human Rights Investigation Division, and Women and Children's Policy Team.
Human Rights Policy Division coordinates various human rights policies within the government and serves as a government office to deal with human rights organizations. On May 22, 2007, it established the National Action Plan for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, a comprehensive national plan, with the aim to promote human rights laws, institutions and practices.
Of the six major international conventions on human rights which Korea has signed, the Division is in charge of drawing up and reviewing government reports regarding the following three conventions: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights(ICCPR); International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights(ICESCR); and Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. It also works to accede to other international human rights conventions and to implement international human rights laws in Korea. The Division is actively participating in the efforts of the international community to protect and promote human rights by strengthening cooperation with international human rights organizations including the UN Human Rights Council and NGOs.
Human Rights Support Division devises and implements national policies regarding the provision of legal aid and services for the underprivileged to promote welfare and protect basic human rights of the public. It is also in charge of providing legal aid to the socially vulnerable through the Korea Legal Aid Corporation and strengthening the public defender system for criminal defendants. The Division takes charge of protecting and supporting crime victims and their families. Its major tasks include: devising policies and measures to protect and support victims of crimes; helping crime victims recover losses and damages; and contributing to welfare enhancement of the citizens by ensuring the full exercise of their rights.
Human Rights Investigation Division investigates possible human rights violation in the course of law enforcement such as investigation, corrections, community safety and immigration, and provides remedial measures. It is also operating the Human Rights Violation Hotline Center. If human rights violations are found after through investigations, it carries out prompt and effective relief measures such as putting an immediate end to the act of violation, transferring the victim to another detention facility, or helping the victim recover losses and damages. The Division also performs regular inspections on detention facilities including correctional facilities; implements measure to enhance relevant laws and regulations; and monitors human rights violations in law enforcement processes through citizen monitoring system. It provides education and training programs on human rights not only for the officials at the Ministry of Justice and the Public Prosecutors' Office but also for those involved in law enforcement activities in order to raise their awareness of human rights. It also publishes educational materials and develops training programs to provide systematic human rights education.
Women and Children's Policy Division develops and promotes various policies to enhance women and children's human rights. It addresses the full spectrum of law enforcement activities related to criminal investigation, corrections, crime prevention, and immigration to ensure that women and children's rights are vigorously protected.
The Division has made focused efforts to prevent all forms of violence against women and children, inter alia, sexual and domestic violence. It has consistently promoted gender and age-sensitive approach to criminal investigation to prevent the retraumatization of victims.
The Division improves laws and systems within the mandate of the Ministry of Justice to eliminate any gender discriminatory elements. It also cooperates and coordinates with other ministries to ensure that the Division's policies are fully and effectively implemented.