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The United Nations conveys its concluding observations on the 5th and 6th periodic reports of the Republic of Korea

  • Date : 2019-10-04
  • Hit : 447

The United Nations conveys its concluding observations on the 5th and 6th periodic reports of the Republic of Korea

- The Committee on the Rights of the Child considers Korea's status regarding the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child -
- The United Nations recommends that Korea increase budgets in relation to children, reduce competitiveness in education system, enact the Discrimination Prohibition Act, etc. -

□ The Ministry of Health and Welfare (Minister Park Neung-hoo) announced that the concluding observations of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child on the 5th and 6th periodic reports of the Republic of Korea were posted on the Committee's website (www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/crc).

□ The Korean government had submitted the 5th and 6th periodic reports specifying the outcomes and limits in the area of children's rights in Korea to the Committee in December 2017 following the Committee’s concluding observations on the 3rd and 4th periodic reports in 2011.

○ On September 18-19, 2019, the government delegation (headed by Vice Minister of Health and Welfare Kim Gang-lip) consisting of representatives from relevant ministries (e.g. the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, etc.) attended the meeting of the Committee on the Rights of the Child held in Geneva, Switzerland, and underwent the Committee's Consideration for the 5th and 6th periodic reports.

□ Through its concluding observations, the Committee on the Rights of the Child proposed its opinions on matters requiring improvement in the form of recommendations, etc., while confirming the nation's significant outcomes of its child-related policies.
○ First, the Committee positively considered Korea’s policy efforts, welcoming the nation's enactment of the Refugee Act (2012); enactment of the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment, Etc., of Child Abuse Crimes (2014); expansion of budgets to prevent abuse; withdrawal of the reservation on provisions regarding the introduction of the court approval system for adoptions, etc., (2017); introduction of child benefits (2018); establishment of a child policy impact assessment system (2019); reinforcement of punishment for sexual crimes against children; and expansion of paternity leave and support for single-parent families.

○ However, the Committee expressed concerns about the nation's child-related budgets that still remain low compared to its GDP; discrimination experienced by economically disadvantaged children, children with disabilities, and migrant children; high suicide rate among children; high incidence of domestic child abuse; and school environment that provokes excessively fierce competition among students, as well as the nation's attempt to lower the age of criminal responsibility to 13.

○ As such, the Committee urged Korea to increase its child-related budgets, enact the Discrimination Prohibition Act, reinforce its efforts to eliminate the root causes of child suicide, expressly prohibit all forms of corporal punishment, ease competition within its educational system, and maintain the age of criminal responsibility at 14. It also recommended that Korea provide sufficient remedies and reparations for victims of humidifier disinfectants, introduce a universal child registration system, prohibit baby boxes and review the system to allow at-risk pregnant mothers to give birth anonymously as an alternative, abolish the protection disposition for children involved in prostitution and treat them as victims, prohibit the detention of children at detention facilities for migrants, and reinforce the data collection and support* concerning migrant children.
* Social services such as childcare, education, healthcare, health insurance, housing, leisure, and protection against child abuse

○ Korea is required to submit the 7th periodic report, which stipulates the nation's follow-up measures taken in response to the Committee's concluding observations on the 5th and 6th periodic reports, to the Committee by December 2024.

□ Vice Minister of Health and Welfare Kim Gang-lip, who headed the government delegation for the Committee's consideration, said, "We are delighted that our recent child-related policies such as child benefits and the National Center for the Rights of the Child were positively received by the Committee. However, as the Committee's recommendations imply, we still have a long way to go."

○ Vice Minister Kim added, "The Korean government revealed the basis of its policies to reinforce children's rights through the Policies for Children toward Building an Inclusive Country announced in May and has stepped up its efforts for institutional improvement.

○ In particular, the government aims to drastically improve the child protection system by stationing agents dedicated to child protection and abuse investigation officials. The government also plans to review the introduction of the mandatory birth declaration system for all medical institutions and the system to allow at-risk pregnant mothers to give birth anonymously, make institutional improvements to change the public perception of corporal punishment, ensure greater participation of children in decision-making for government policies, and reinforce children's right to play."

□ The Ministry of Health and Welfare plans to expand social discussions to advance institutional improvements and promote children's rights across various areas in cooperation with relevant ministries based on the Committee's recommendations.

○ As an extension of such efforts, we will stage a seminar on the Committee's recommendations at the Children's Rights Forum on November 20, which marks the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Convention, and collect the opinions of experts and NGOs of different areas.

○ The collected opinions will be reflected in specific measures that we roll out on a continued basis to promote children's rights, such as the 2nd Master Plan for Child Policy (2020-2024).

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