List of Current South Korean Laws on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (Apr. 2019.)

Laws on sexual orientation and gender identity

Area

Title of law

History

Contents

Military

Military Criminal Act

* Enacted in 1962.

 

* With the 2009 revision of Article 92 as Article 92(5), the statutory punishment increased from imprisonment with prison labor for up to one year to imprisonment with prison labor for up to two years. In effect since Feb. 3, 2010.

 

* With the major revisions in 2013 of laws related to sexual violence including the Criminal Act, the provisions on sexual violence in the Military Criminal Act were revised as well. In the process, the term gyegan[1] was deleted and replaced with the term “anal sex” (reflecting the opinion of the Ministry of National Defense).

* In the past, Article 92 (Disgraceful Conduct) in Chapter 15 (Other Crimes) provided, “A person who commits gyegan or other disgraceful conduct shall be punished by imprisonment with prison labor for not more than one year,” even punishing mutually consensual sexual acts between same-sex soldiers by not requiring coercion as an element.

 

* The 2009 revision stipulates Article 92(5) (Disgraceful Conduct) as “A person who commits gyegan or other disgraceful conduct shall be punished by imprisonment with prison labor for not more than two years” under Chapter 15 (Crimes of Rape and Molestation), thus raising the statutory punishment.

 

* The 2013 revision stipulates Article 92(6) (Disgraceful Conduct) as “A person who commits anal sex or other disgraceful conduct on a person falling under any provision of Article 1(1) through (3)[2] shall be punished by imprisonment with prison labor for not more than two years.”

 

In 2002, 2011, and 2016, the Constitutional Court of Korea ruled the article to be constitutional.[3] Currently pending at the Constitutional Court of Korea after a request for the adjudication of constitutionality was made in 2017.

 

* The Bill for the Repeal of Article 92(6) of the Military Criminal Act (primary sponsor: National Assembly member Kim Jong-dae) has been proposed and is currently pending in the National Assembly.

 

General

National Human Rights Commission Act

* Enacted in 2001.

 

* The provision on discriminatory acts violating the right to equality transferred from Article 30 (Matters Subject to Investigation) to Article 2 (Definitions).

* As discriminatory acts violating the right to equality, the provision stipulates acts of favorably treating, excluding, differentiating, or unfavorably treating an individual in employment, in supply or use of goods and services, or in education or use of educational facilities, etc. on the ground of sexual orientation as well as acts of sexual harassment (Article 2 Subparagraph 3).

 

* When a discriminatory act occurs in relation to the performance of duties by state institutions or is committed by corporations, organizations, or private persons, the victim or any individual or organization that is aware of such facts may file petitions (Article 30 Paragraph 1).

 

* Even without petitions, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea may conduct investigations ex officio when there is a reasonable ground to believe a discriminatory act exists and the matter is serious (Article 30 Paragraph 3).

 

* The National Human Rights Commission of Korea may conduct investigations on such acts and mediate or recommend relief measures, rectification, or disciplinary actions, or report to the authorities when discriminatory acts are found to have occurred (Articles 40, 42, 44, etc.).

 

 

 

 

Article 2 (Definitions)

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

 

3. The term “discriminatory act violating the right to equality” means any of the following acts committed without reasonable cause based on sex, religion, disability, age, social status, region of origin (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, physical conditions including appearance, marital status such as married, single, separated, divorced, widowed, and de facto married, race, skin color, thoughts or political opinions, family type or family situation, pregnancy or birth, criminal record of which effective term of the punishment has expired, sexual orientation, academic background or medical history, etc.; Provided, That an act of provisionally treating favorably a particular person (including groups of particular persons; hereinafter the same shall apply) for the purpose of remedying existing discrimination, and the enactment or amendment of laws and regulations and the formulation and enforcement of policy to this effect, shall not be deemed as the discriminatory act violating the right to equality (hereinafter referred to as the “discriminatory act”):

(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 use 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 other demand]

 

Correctional facilities

Administration and Treatment of Correctional Institution Inmates Act

* Provision newly added with the revision of the entire Criminal Administration Act in 2007.

 

* In effect since 2008.

Article 5 (Non-discrimination)

Prisoners shall, without reasonable grounds, not be discriminated on the grounds of sex, religion, disability, age, social status, region of origin, national origin, ethnic origin, physical conditions including appearance, medical history, marital status, political opinion, sexual orientation, etc.

 

* As for remedies for violations of the rights, it provides for interviews with the heads of correctional facilities, petitions, etc. (Articles 116 and 117).

 

Correctional facilities/military

Act on the Execution of Criminal Penalties in the Armed Forces and the Treatment of Military Inmates

* Provisions newly added with the revision of the entire Military Criminal Administration Act in 2009.

 

* In effect since May 2010.

* Provisions are almost identical to those above (Articles 6, 101, and 102).

 

Korea Immigration Service

Foreigner Protection Decree

(Order of the Ministry of Justice)

* Decree on the treatment of inmates in foreigner detention facilities facing deportation.

 

* In June 2015, the Ministry of Justice newly enacted a rule on “sexual minorities” when amending legislations to improve treatment within foreigner detention facilities.

Article 6(4) provides that, in regards to body searches that are conducted for the purpose of admission to foreigner detention facilities, etc., a public official of the same-sex should be in charge; Provided, that “when the foreigner is a sexual minority, his/her opinion should be respected and a person of the opposite-sex designated by the head of the foreigner detention facility may perform the search.”

 

Article 9(1) provides for “special cells for patients, pregnant women, sexual minorities, etc.” in regards to division of cells in detention facilities, and provides an exception for sexual minorities regarding the principle of “men should use men-only cells and women should use women-only cells” in the second paragraph.

 

Military

Regulations on Examination Such as Draft Physical Examination (Ordinance of the Ministry of National Defense)

* A proviso added in 2008 in accordance with a 2007 recommendation from the National Human Rights Commission of Korea.[4]

* In principle, urological examinations implemented as a part of military conscription physical examinations must be conducted with partitions separating individuals. In the case of transgender people, however, the examinations can be replaced by a written decision from a court, or a certificate of physical examination or a statement of radiological findings, etc. indicating the subject to be a transgender person (proviso in Article 8 Paragraph 2 Subparagraph 10).

 

Military

Regulations on Examination Such as Draft Physical Examination (Ordinance of the Ministry of National Defense)

[Attached Table 3]

The Severity of and Evaluation Criteria for Illness and Mental and Physical Disabilities

* In the partial revision of Dec. 7, 1978, “sexual perversion” was introduced as a criterion for evaluating mental and physical disabilities.

 

* In the revision of Jan. 30, 1999, the stipulation “sexual perversion” was deleted, and the current expression, “gender identity disorder, sexual preference disorder,” was inserted and has been maintained to the present.

 

* In the Oct. 19, 2015 partial revision, the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) was added as a measure of the severity of “gender identity disorder.”

 

* In the Feb. 1, 2018 partial revision, “102(3). Gender Identity Disorder and Sexual Preference Disorder,” from which the GAF was removed and in which the relevant expression was modified, was stipulated separately from the previous “102. Personality Disorders and Behavioral Disorders (Habit and Impulse Disorders), Gender Identity Disorder, Sexual Preference Disorder, Etc.”

 

* On Sept. 17, 2018, the severity of gender identity disorder, previously classified into the three stages of mild, moderate, and severe, was revised to the two stages of mild and severe.

102(3). Gender Identity Disorder and Sexual Preference Disorder

a. Observation is needed for a certain period of time.

b. Mild (Out of those who have been confirmed to have a history of treatment in the department of psychiatry for six months or more or a history of hospitalization in the department of psychiatry for one month or more, the person has social and occupational functioning impairment)

c. Severe (The person meets mild disorder criteria and has a number of severe symptoms that are considered to cause significant difficulties in military service)

 

(※ Mild cases are determined as Grade IV, and severe cases are determined as Grade V.)

           

 

 

 

Administrative rules and Supreme Court established rules on sexual orientation and gender identity

Area

Title of rule

History

Contents

Legal gender recognition

Guidelines on the Clerical Processing of Cases of Transgender People’s Application for Legal Gender Recognition (Supreme Court established rule on family relationship registration)

* Enacted in 2007 in response to the successful legal gender recognition of a transgender person through a 2006 Supreme Court decision.[5]

 

* Revised in 2009 in partial acceptance of a 2008 recommendation from the National Human Rights Commission of Korea.[6]

 

* Previously, legal gender recognition was not permitted to transgender people with (a) child(ren) regardless of the child(ren)’s age(s). In accordance with a 2011 Supreme Court decision,[7] however, this was revised to investigate the “presence of (a) minor child(ren)” so that if a transgender person’s child(ren) had reached majority, legal gender recognition could be permitted.

 

* With the 2013 revision of the age of majority in the Civil Act from 20 years to 19 years, the possible age to apply for legal gender recognition was changed from 20 years to 19 years.

* These Guidelines provide the procedures, etc. for the application for and decision-making on legal gender recognition.

 

* They provide the list of documents to be submitted and the matters to be investigated.

 

Article 3 (Attached Documents) (1) The applicant shall attach the following documents to the application form in Article 9 Paragraph 1 of the Non-contentious Case Procedure Act:

 

1. A basic certificate of the family relationship register, a family relationship certificate, and a transcript/abstract of the resident register;

2. Written diagnoses or appraisals from two or more professionally trained psychiatrists who diagnosed the applicant with transsexualism;

3. A written report of opinions and findings from the surgeon who performed gender reassignment surgery confirming that the applicant received gender reassignment surgery and currently exhibits a physical appearance similar to the genitals of the sex opposite of his or her biological sex. [When a written report of opinions and findings in the name of the surgeon who performed gender reassignment surgery cannot be attached, the applicant may explain the reasons for his or her inability to attach the report and submit a written physical appraisal in another professionally trained physician’s name. In the case where the applicant received gender reassignment surgery overseas, he or she shall submit a written diagnosis (a written physical appraisal, a report of opinions and findings) from a physician professionally trained in plastic surgery or obstetrics and gynecology in South Korea confirming that the applicant currently has the external genitals, etc. of the gender opposite his or her sex as a result of the surgery.];

4. A written diagnosis or appraisal in a professionally trained physician’s name confirming that the applicant currently lacks reproductive capacity and that there is no possibility for reproductive capacity to develop or to be recovered in the future as well;

5. The applicant’s statement of his or her growth environment and letters of guarantee from two or more references (the statement of growth environment and the letters of guarantee from references shall include: (i) a specific statement of the applicant’s interpersonal relationships including relationships with members of the opposite sex and public life for each period including infancy, childhood, youth, adulthood, etc.; and (ii) a statement to the effect that the applicant continuously lived with a gender identity or self opposite of his or her biological sex for a certain duration from before receiving gender reassignment surgery, received gender reassignment surgery as a manifestation of such a gender identity or self, and leads public life in great satisfaction with the gender identity or self currently established since gender reassignment surgery.); and

6. A written consent from the parents.

 

Article 6 (Matters for Investigation)

To examine a case applying for legal gender recognition, the court is to investigate the following grounds regarding the applicant:

 

1. Whether the applicant, as a national of the Republic of Korea, is a person of legal capacity aged 19 or above, is currently married, or has (a) minor child(ren);

2. Whether the applicant has experienced continuous pain due to the disagreement between his or her inherent, biological sex and consciousness since his or her growth period due to transsexualism and felt a sense of belonging to the opposite sex instead;

3. Whether the applicant still wished for surgical measures despite prolonged treatment through psychiatric treatment or hormone treatment and therefore received gender reassignment surgery under a qualified surgeon’s judgment and responsibility and whether his or her physical appearance including the external genitals has been changed to that of the opposite sex;

4. Whether, as a result of gender reassignment surgery, the applicant has lost reproductive capacity and whether the likelihood of his or her re-transition into his or her original sex in the future is absent or extremely thin;

5. Whether the applicant has special circumstances such as applying for legal gender recognition for the intention or purpose of using it for acts that are criminal or evade the law.

Criminal procedure

Regulations on the Duties of Police Officers for Human Rights Protection (Korea Coast Guard Directive)

* Originally enacted in 2007 as a Korea Coast Guard Directive but revised as a Ministry of Public Safety and Security Directive with the absorption of the Korea Coast Guard by the newly created Ministry of Public Safety and Security following the tragic sinking of the MV Sewol.

 

* Revised as the Korea Coast Guard Directive after the reestablishment of the Korea Coast Guard in 2018.

* Together with the Regulations on the Duties of Police Officers for Human Rights Protection (Korean National Police Agency Directive), these Regulations were administrative rules that included the term “sexual minorities.” While the term “sexual minorities” was deleted from this Korean National Policy Agency Directive following its change into the Police Regulations on Human Rights Protection on May 14, 2018, it has been retained in the Korea Coast Guard Directive.

 

* Article 2 Subparagraph 4 defines “sexual minorities” as “Those who are minorities in terms of their own sexual identities including homosexuals, bisexuals, and transsexuals.”

 

* Chapter 4 (Investigation) Section 3 (Protection of Social Minorities) Article 76 (Investigation of Sexual Minorities) stipulates, “When a sexual minority person does not wish to disclose his or her sexual identity, it shall be respected to the greatest extent possible. Even when [his or her sexual identity] must inevitably be disclosed to the family and others, the reasons shall be explained adequately,” thus restricting outing.

 

* Chapter 4 (Investigation) Section 4 (Guarantee of the Human Rights of Confinees) Article 80 (Consideration for the Socially Marginalized) Paragraph 4 provides, “As for confinees who are sexual minorities, when they so wish, measures such as solitary confinement shall be taken.”

Criminal procedure

Working Rules on Investigations Protecting Human Rights (Ministry of Justice Directive)

* In effect since 2006.

Article 4 (Non-discrimination)

Individuals related to cases including suspects shall, without reasonable grounds, not be discriminated on the grounds of sex, religion, age, disability, social status, region of origin, race, nationality, physical conditions including appearance, medical history, marital status, political opinion, sexual orientation, etc.

Criminal procedure

Regulations on the Confinement and Escort of Suspects (Korean National Police Agency Directive)

* In effect since 2007.

Article 19 (Guidelines on Confinee Protection Officers’ Performance of Duties)

(2) Confinee protection officers shall continuously make rounds inside detention houses while on duty to examine confinees’ movements, endeavor to prevent accidents by especially taking care that the following acts do not occur, and take emergency measures and report immediately to the main officer in charge of protecting confinees so that necessary measures will be taken when unusual circumstances are discovered:

 

11. Acts of bullying or discrimination against people with disabilities, foreigners, sexual minorities, et al.

Criminal procedure

Regulations on the Confinement and Escort of Suspects (Korea Coast Guard Directive)

* In effect since Sept. 2011.

 

* Originally enacted as a Korea Coast Guard Directive but revised as a Ministry of Public Safety and Security Directive with the absorption of the Korea Coast Guard by the newly created Ministry of Public Safety and Security following the tragic sinking of the MV Sewol.

 

* Revised as the Korea Coast Guard Directive after the reestablishment of the Korea Coast Guard in 2018.

* The same provisions as above.

 

* The reference to the bullying of sexual minorities as above was not included in the past, unlike the Korean National Police Agency Directive, but was recently added.

Military/correctional facilities

Directive on the Execution of Detention in a Guardhouse and Standards for the Treatment of Disciplinary Guardhouse Inmates (Ministry of National Defense Directive)

* Enacted in Feb. 2011.

Article 5 (Non-discrimination)

Disciplinary guardhouse inmates shall, without reasonable grounds, not be discriminated or unjustly treated on the grounds of rank, age, religion, academic background, region of origin, appearance, sexual orientation, etc.

Military

Directive on the Management of Military Units (Ministry of National Defense Directive)

* With the case of human rights violations against a gay male soldier that occurred in Feb. 2006[8] as the impetus, the Guidelines on the Management of Homosexuals in the Military were enacted in April 2006.

 

* Because of LGBTI people’s criticism, the Guidelines above were partly revised and promoted in 2008 as Ministry of National Defense Directive No. 898 “Directive on the Management of Homosexuals in Military Camps.”

 

* Incorporated into the Directive on the Management of Military Units, enacted in 2009, without changes in the contents.

* Included in Theme 4 (Accident Prevention) Chapter 7 (Military Service of Homosexual Soldiers).

 

* This Directive provides for equal treatment, non-discrimination, restrictions on outing, strengthened education, disallowance for all sexual acts by homosexual soldiers, etc.

Military

Directive on Military Human Rights Duties

* Enacted in Jul. 2011.

 

* Contents related to “The protection of sexual minorities’ human rights” added in Jan. 2017.

Article 16 (Contents of Education)

(1) The human rights education of soldiers and cadres shall be implemented with a focus on the following contents:

 

6. The protection of sexual minorities’ human rights.

Military

Directive on Human Rights Protection, Etc. in Military Investigation Procedures

* Enacted in Oct. 2004.

 

* Contents on non-discrimination on the grounds of “sexual orientation” added in Jun. 2018.

Article 5 (Non-discrimination)

Individuals related to cases shall, without reasonable grounds, not be discriminated on the grounds of rank, position, sex, religion, age, disability, social status, region of origin, race, nationality, physical conditions including appearance, medical history, marital status, political opinion, sexual orientation, etc.

Public Health

Blood donation questionnaire form (Minister of Health and Welfare Public Notice)

* Stipulated as a form in the Enforcement Decree of the Blood Management Act.

 

* The item “sexual contact with (a) member(s) of the same sex” was changed to “in the case of males, sexual contact with (an)other male(s)” in 2005 in accordance with a 2004 recommendation from the National Human Rights Commission of Korea.[9]

 

* Separated from the Enforcement Decree of the Blood Management Act and adopted as a Minister of Health and Welfare Public Notice in 2009.

* Those with the experience of “sexual contact with (an) unspecified member(s) of the opposite sex or, in the case of males, sexual contact with (an)other male(s)” within the past one year are barred from donating blood, thus differently establishing sexual contact between members of the opposite sex and sexual contact between males in terms of “specificity.”

 

* According to the determination criteria on the blood donation questionnaire of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Sexual contact means an act including and exceeding deep kissing.”

 

 

 

Local ordinances on sexual orientation and gender identity

Area

Level

Title of ordinance

History

Contents

Media

Basic local government

Geoje City Social Media Management Ordinance

* Enacted in Nov. 2017.

Article 5 (Management of Posts)

(2) The mayor, for the sound management of social media, shall not remove or block posts or comments unless any of the following subparagraphs are applicable. If applicable, the reasons for the removal or block should be disclosed on the relevant social media platform.

 

8. When discriminatory and/or hateful comments are made toward the socially disadvantaged including sexual minorities, women, persons with disabilities, migrants, etc.

Media

Basic local government

Gangneung City Social Network Service Management and Operation Ordinance

* Enacted in Dec. 2018.

* Regulations identical to those of the Geoje City Social Media Management Ordinance above.

Media

Basic local government

Hongcheon-gun Social Network Service and Management Ordinance

* Enacted in Nov. 2018.

* Regulations identical to those of the Geoje City Social Media Management Ordinance above.

Education

Regional local government

Gyeonggi Province Student Rights Ordinance

* Enacted in Oct. 2010.

Article 5 (Right Not to Be Discriminated)

(1) Students have a right, without reasonable grounds, not to be discriminated against based on sex, religion, age, social status, region of origin, national origin, ethnic origin, language, disabilities, physical conditions including appearance, pregnancy or birth, family type or family situation, race, skin color, thoughts or political opinions, sexual orientation, medical history, punishments, academic grades, etc.

(2) Schools shall actively endeavor to guarantee the human rights of students who experience difficulties due to the grounds shown in Paragraph 1.

Education

Regional local government

Gwangju Student Rights Ordinance

* Enacted in Oct. 2011.

Article 20 (Right Not to Be Discriminated)

(1) Students have a right not to be discriminated against based on sex, religion, ethnicity, language, age, sexual orientation, physical conditions, economic circumstances, academic grades, etc. and to enjoy equal treatment and learning.

(2) Schools shall endeavor to guarantee the human rights of students who experience difficulties due to the grounds shown in Paragraph 1.

Education

Regional local government

Seoul Student Rights Ordinance

* Enacted in Jan. 2012.

 

* Provision on the prohibition of hate speech created in Sept. 2017.

 

* Sexual minority students’ right to welfare created in Mar. 2019.

Article 5 (Right Not to Be Discriminated)

(1) Students have a right not to be discriminated against based on sex, religion, age, social status, region of origin, national origin, ethnic origin, language, disabilities, physical conditions including appearance, pregnancy or birth, family type or family situation, race, economic status, skin color, thoughts or political opinions, sexual orientation, gender identity, medical history, punishments, academic grades, etc.

(2) Founders and managers of schools, and principals, teachers, and administrative workers at schools shall actively endeavor to guarantee the human rights of students who experience difficulties due to the grounds shown in Paragraph 1.

(3) Founders and managers, principals, teachers, administrative employees, and students of schools shall not violate the human rights of others by exhibiting discriminatory language or acts and/or hateful expressions on grounds listed in Paragraph 1.

 

Article 14 (Right to Have Personal Information Protected)

(1) Students have a right to have personal information such as family, friends, academic grades, medical history, records of punishments, non-payment of educational fees, counseling records, and sexual orientation (hereinafter referred to as “personal information”) protected.

 

Article 21 (Right to School Welfare)

(2) Superintendents of municipal offices of education, founders and managers of schools, and principals shall endeavor to consider and to allocate resources such as budgets first to students who experience difficulty exercising their rights due to economic, social, or cultural reasons such as poverty-stricken students, students with disabilities, students from multicultural families, foreign students, sexual minority students, and working students.

 

Article 28 (Guarantee of the Rights of Minority Students)

(1) Superintendents of municipal offices of education, founders and managers of schools, and principals, teachers, and administrative workers at schools shall endeavor so that minority students such as poverty-stricken students, students with disabilities, students from single-parent families, students from multicultural families, foreign students, athletes, sexual minorities, and working students (hereinafter referred to as “minority students”) are appropriately guaranteed the rights demanded depending on their characteristics.

(8) Superintendents of municipal offices of education, and principals, teachers, and administrative workers at schools shall not divulge information on or the contents of counseling regarding students’ sexual orientation and gender identity to others (Guardians are to be excluded. The same shall hereinafter apply.) without [the students’] consent and, even when urgent for safety reasons, shall respect students’ wishes to the greatest extent possible.

 

* “Gender identity” stipulated as a prohibited ground of discrimination for the first time.

 

* Going beyond stipulation as prohibited grounds of discrimination, this Ordinance explicitly states the right to protection of personal information, rights as minority students, etc.

General

Regional local government

Seoul Human Rights Ordinance

* Enacted in Sept. 2012.

Article 6 (Respect for Human Rights and Non-discrimination)

(1) All citizens shall be respected of their human rights and shall not be subjected to discrimination prohibited by relevant laws including the Constitution of the Republic of Korea and the National Human Rights Commission Act.

Children and youth

Regional local government

Seoul Ordinance on the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights of the Child and Youth

* Enacted in Oct. 2012.

Article 2 (Terminology) The definitions of terms used in this Ordinance shall be as follows:

 

6. The term “minorities” means persons who are in a position where they can be subjected to discrimination or marginalization on the grounds of being, being from, having, experiencing, or having experienced single-parent families, multicultural families, runaways, migrants, foreigners, religion, North Korean defectors, sexual minorities, workers, pregnancy or childbirth, learning difficulties, deschooling, etc.

 

Article 7 (Principle of Non-discrimination)

(1) Children and youth have a right not to be discriminated against based on age, sex, religion, social status, region, nationality, ethnicity, language, disabilities, physical conditions including appearance, pregnancy or birth, family type or family situation, race, economic status, skin color, thoughts or political opinions, sexual orientation, gender identity, medical history, punishments, academic grades, employment type, etc.

(2) The Mayor and heads and employees of facilities shall actively endeavor to guarantee the human rights of children and youth who experience difficulties due to the grounds shown in Paragraph 1.

Education

Regional local government

Jeollabuk-do Student Rights Ordinance

* Enacted in Jun. 2013.

Article 8 (Right Not to Be Discriminated)

(1) Students shall not be discriminated on grounds that fall under the definitions of discriminatory acts in Article 2 Subparagraph 3 of the National Human Rights Commission Act.[10]

(2) Founders and managers of schools, and principals, teachers, and administrative workers at schools shall actively endeavor to guarantee the human rights of students who experience difficulties due to the grounds shown in Paragraph 1.

 

Article 38 (Guarantee of the Rights of Minority Students)

(1) Superintendents of municipal offices of education and principals at schools shall endeavor to the greatest extent possible so that minority students such as students in poverty, students with disabilities, students from single-parent family, grandparent-grandchildren family, or multicultural family, athletes, sexual minorities, and maladaptive students are appropriately guaranteed the rights demanded depending on their characteristics.

(2) Superintendents of municipal offices of education and principals at schools shall establish human rights education programs necessary for mitigating prejudice and discrimination against minority students and special career/employment programs for minority students.

General

Basic local government

Daejeon Metropolitan City Dong-gu Ordinance on the Guarantee and Promotion of Human Rights

* Enacted in Apr. 2015.

Article 6 (Rights of Residents, Etc.)

(1) Residents shall be assured of human dignity and are entitled to equal treatment and the right to a life worthy of human beings.

(2) Residents shall not be discriminated, without reasonable grounds, on the grounds of sex, religion, disability, age, social status, region of origin, state of origin, ethnic origin, physical condition such as appearance, medical history, marital status, political opinion, and sexual orientation, etc.

General

Basic local government

Busan Metropolitan City Nam-gu Human Rights Promotion Ordinance

* Enacted in May 2011.

Article 5 (Rights of Residents, Etc.)

(1) Residents shall be assured of human dignity and are entitled to equal treatment and the right to a life worthy of human beings.

(2) Residents shall not be discriminated, without reasonable grounds, on the grounds of sex, religion, disability, age, social status, region of origin, state of origin, ethnic origin, physical condition such as appearance, medical history, marital status, political opinion, and sexual orientation, etc.

General

Basic local government

Busan Metropolitan City Yeonje-gu Ordinance on the Guarantee and Promotion of Human Rights

* Enacted in Jul. 2015.

Article 5 (Rights of Residents, Etc.)

(1) Residents shall be assured of human dignity and are entitled to equal treatment and the right to a life worthy of human beings.

(2) Residents shall not be discriminated, without reasonable grounds, on the grounds of sex, religion, disability, age, social status, region of origin, state of origin, ethnic origin, physical condition such as appearance, medical history, marital status, political opinion, and sexual orientation, etc.

General

Basic local government

Seoul Metropolitan City Eunpyeong-gu Ordinance on the Guarantee and Promotion of Human Rights

* Enacted in Oct. 2015.

Article 2 (Definitions)

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

2. “Discriminatory act violating the equal right” means, in accordance with Article 2(3) of the National Human Rights Commission Act, an act of favorably treating, excluding, discriminating against or unfavorably treating a particular person, without reasonable grounds, on the grounds of sex, religion, disability, age, social status, region of origin (referring to a place of birth, permanent domicile, principal area of residence before the full adult age, etc.), state of origin, ethnic origin, physical condition such as appearance, marital status such as single, separated, divorced, widowed, remarried, married de facto, or whether pregnant or having given birth, types or forms of family, race, skin color, ideology or political opinion, record of crime whose effect of punishment has been extinguished, sexual orientation, academic career, medical history, etc.: Provided, That the temporary favorable treatment to a particular person (including a group of particular persons; hereafter the same shall apply in this Article) to solve the existing discrimination, the enactment and amendment of ordinances and the formulation and enforcement of policy to this effect shall not be deemed a discriminatory act violating the equal right.

General

Basic local government

Ulsan Metropolitan City Buk-gu Human Rights Promotion Ordinance

* Enacted in Jan. 2011.

Article 4 (Rights of Residents, Etc.)

(1) Residents shall be assured of human dignity and are entitled to equal treatment and the right to a life worthy of human beings.

(2) Residents shall not be discriminated, without reasonable grounds, on the grounds of sex, religion, disability, age, social status, region of origin, state of origin, ethnic origin, physical condition such as appearance, medical history, marital status, political opinion, and sexual orientation, etc.

General

Basic local government

Ulsan Metropolitan City Jung-gu Ordinance on the Guarantee and Promotion of Human Rights

* Enacted in Apr. 2013.

Article 5 (Rights of Residents, Etc.)

(1) Residents shall be assured of human dignity and are entitled to equal treatment and the right to a life worthy of human beings.

(2) Residents shall not be discriminated, without reasonable grounds, on the grounds of sex, religion, disability, age, social status, region of origin, state of origin, ethnic origin, physical condition such as appearance, medical history, marital status, political opinion, and sexual orientation, etc.

General

Regional local government

Jeju Special Self-governing Province Ordinance on the Guarantee and Promotion of Human Rights

* Enacted in Oct. 2015.

Article 2 (Basic Principle)

All provincial residents shall be respected of their human rights, and shall not be subject to discrimination prohibited under the Constitution of the Republic of Korea (hereinafter referred to as the “Constitution”), the National Human Rights Commission of Korea Act (hereinafter referred to as the “Act”), and related laws and regulations.

General

Regional local government

Ordinance for the Protection and Promotion of the Human Rights of Chungcheongnam-do Residents

* The Ordinance for the Protection and Promotion of the Human Rights of Chungcheongnam-do Residents enacted in 2014.

 

* The Chungcheongnam-do Council resolved to repeal the Ordinance on Apr. 3, 2018 on the grounds of contents banning discrimination against LGBTI people.

 

* The Ordinance was reenacted in October 2018.

Article 5 (Provincial Residents’ Rights and Cooperation)

(2) All provincial residents shall be not be subject to discrimination prohibited under the Constitution of the Republic of Korea, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea Act, and related laws and regulations.

General

Regional local government

Chungcheongbuk-do Ordinance on the Guarantee and Promotion of Human Rights

* Enacted in Oct. 2015.

Article 4 (Respect for Human Rights and Non-discrimination)

All provincial residents shall be respected of their human rights, and shall not be subject to discrimination prohibited under the Constitution of the Republic of Korea, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea Act, and related laws and regulations.

General

Basic local government

Hwasun-gun Ordinance on the Guarantee and Promotion of Human Rights

* Enacted in Dec. 2017.

Article 6 (Respect for Human Rights and Non-discrimination)

(1) All county residents shall be respected of their human rights, and shall not be subject to discrimination prohibited under the Constitution of the Republic of Korea, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea Act, and related laws and regulations.

(2) County residents who are victims of human rights violations or organizations that have knowledge of such violations may request counsel with the mayor.


 

 

[1] A derogatory reference to anal sex between men.

[2] Soldiers or members of the paramilitary personnel (civilian military employees, officer candidates, et al.).

[3] See the Constitutional Court of Korea decision 2001Hun-Ba70, 6/27/2002; Constitutional Court of Korea decision 2008Hun-Ka21, 3/31/2011; Constitutional Court of Korea decision 2012Hun-Ba258, 7/28/2016.

[4] See the National Human Rights Commission of Korea decision 07Jin-In533, 7/20/2007. This decision concerned a case where although an FTM transgender person whose legal gender had been changed to male by a court ruling submitted the court’s written judgment and a written diagnosis for prospective soldiers from a professionally trained physician during military conscription physical examinations, the physician in charge of conscription demanded personally to verify and did visually inspect the transgender person’s lower body. The decision acknowledged the violation of personal rights and recommended both the Minister of National Defense and the Commissioner of the Military Manpower Administration to revise the Regulations on Examination Such as Draft Physical Examination so as to minimize transgender people’s sense of humiliation in physical examination processes.

[5] Supreme Court en banc decision 2004Seu42, 6/22/2006.

[6] See the National Human Rights Commission of Korea combined decision 06Jin-Cha525 and 06Jin-Cha573, 8/25/2008. In this decision, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea stated that there were nine elements of human rights violations among the requirements for legal gender recognition including genital surgery, age of 20 or above, lack of past or current legal marital status, and completion of or exemption from mandatory military service and recommended their revision.

[7] Supreme Court en banc decision 2009Seu117, 9/2/2011.

[8] At the time, the unit demanded that the victim prove his homosexuality by submitting photographs of him having sexual relations with a member of the same sex and forcibly took a sample of his blood for HIV/AIDS tests even though there were no suspicions of his infection. Regarding this case, human rights activist groups created an organ for investigating human rights violations against homosexuals in the military and responded, and the National Human Rights Commission of Korea acknowledged the case to constitute human rights violations (National Human Rights Commission of Korea Plenary Committee decision 06Jin-Cha87, 6/26/2006). As for the detailed development and contents of this case, see Cheong Yol, “A watershed in the rights of LGBTI people in the military,” “Rainbow Wind of Human Rights to Promote LGBTI Rights in Relation to the Military! Blowing Gently in the Military” Project Sourcebook, Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Korea and the Korean Gay Men’s Human Rights Group “Chingusai” (2008), 8-12.

[9] National Human Rights Commission of Korea decision 03Jin-Cha664, 8/3/2004. The Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Korea filed a petition to the National Human Rights Commission of Korea arguing that “I had sexual contact with (a) member(s) of the same sex or (an) unspecified member(s) of the opposite sex in the past one year,” which is one of the conditions prohibiting a respondent from donating blood on the blood donation questionnaire form that must be completed in advance, constituted discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Commission judged the case to be one of discrimination, stating, “It can aggravate the prejudice that has viewed homosexuality as a cause of AIDS,” and advised the Minister of Health and Welfare to revise the condition. Following this recommendation, however, the Minister of Health and Welfare only excluded sexual relations between women and has continued to maintain sexual relations between men as a ground for the prohibition of blood donation.

[10] “[G]ender, 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.”