Human Rights

Stories about people who suffer from human rights violations, and those who fight to uphold human dignity

Katrin Park
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South Korea Needs More Immigrants

South Koreans are infamously impatient. The country zipped through a spectacular makeover from a dirt-poor, post-war agrarian society into a manufacturing superstar. True to its national temperament, it is now aging faster than any other country thanks to one of the world’s lowest birth rates. From the economy to

Daniel Corks
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Child Inmates of South Korea's Immigration Jail

Helene* had a challenge that no mother would want. She, with her husband, was a refugee in a foreign land with a foreign language, trying despite all odds to raise her children as best she could. If this weren’t enough of a challenge, Helene was in jail, locked up

KOREA EXPOSÉ
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ké cast S2 E3: Is There Room For Conscientious Objectors in Korea?

Is there room for freedom of conscience in the South Korean military? Amnesty International says that there are more than 230 conscientious objectors currently incarcerated in the country. But a Constitutional Court ruling this summer, a ruling that states that the government must provide alternative civilian roles for those who

Se-Woong Koo
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Tyranny of South Korea's Majority Against Refugees

From a distance, it had the feeling of a summer evening street party. A young man stood on a modified truck bed and belted out tunes to entertain a growing crowd. People—some seated on plastic chairs and others standing around—held up electric candles. Many were young hipsters. Parents

Ben Jackson
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Dark Tour: Jeju Island Beyond Teddy Bear Museums

Jeju Island is where South Koreans love to get away from it all. Hundreds of flights a day deposit mainlanders hungry for escape, relaxation and selfies. With its sea-locked isolation, black soil and relentless wind, Jeju feels almost like a different country altogether. So it’s hard to believe that

Ho Kyeong Jang
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Let Everyone Shine: South Korea To Abolish Decades-Long Disability Rating System

The Winter Paralympic Games, ending on Sunday, Mar. 18, have received generally positive, albeit less, fanfare than its Olympic counterpart. But outside the Paralympics, interest in the actual quality of life for disabled people is still low. Recently, the South Korean government finally proposed to remove the long-contested rating system

Shin Mijoo
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The Invisible Hands Behind South Korea's Errand Men

In the middle of the night, Rumi is woken up by a noise outside. Dozens of ‘errand men’ in blue vests and white helmets start smashing the window of her fried chicken restaurant with metal pipes. In no time, they break inside and drag her out. She resists

Raphael Rashid
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"Gay Blacklist": Retired Officer Acquitted for Having Gay Sex in Army

A former South Korean soldier, accused of having sexual intercourse with another soldier, has been found not guilty by a civilian court in Seoul. “Lieutenant B” was an active army officer when he fell victim to the South Korean army’s systematic “gay blacklist,” according to the Military Human Rights

Daniel Corks
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Undocumented Workers: International Students As South Korea's Migrant Labor

One day in his elective class, Cương just couldn’t stay awake. Whenever the professor started talking, Cương’s eyelids started to feel heavy. His head dropped down to his desk, seemingly on its own. The professor noticed. After class, Cương, an international student from Vietnam, explained to her that

Raphael Rashid
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KÉ Interview: That Famous Same-Sex Wedding, Four Years Later

While homosexuality is not outlawed per se in South Korea, LGBT rights is still a sensitive topic in a country where, in certain contexts, being gay can even lead to criminal prosecution. In 2013, Dave Kim (Kim Seung-hwan), a producer at LGBT film production and distribution company Rainbow Factory, wed

Haeryun Kang
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KÉ Interview: A Disabled Person’s Day Is 12 Hours Long, Not 24

Hong Yunhui’s 12-year-old daughter has never been able to walk on her own, having in infancy suffered spinal cancer that left her permanently disabled. Her lack of mobility has made every day a challenge for mother and daughter. Once, while transferring through Wangsimni, a labyrinthine mega-station in Seoul with

Daniel Corks
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KÉ Interview: 10 Years in the Life of an Unregistered Laborer

He came here to “fulfill his Korean dream,” I was told. But I wasn’t talking to a teenage boy looking to become the next K-Pop star. He is an ordinary, working-class person from Vietnam, coming to South Korea to work long hours in physically gruelling jobs. Despite