Government denies recognition to sexual minority rights group

Posted on : 2015-05-04 16:09 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Ministry says that advocating for rights of a minority does not entitle group to standard incorporation

The South Korean government has denied an application for official recognition from the Beyond the Rainbow Foundation, the country’s first group established to advocate the rights of sexual minorities, the Hankyoreh confirmed on May 3.

“On Apr. 29 - six months after we requested permission to be recognized - the Ministry of Justice sent us an official document notifying us that our request had been rejected,” the foundation said.

The foundation submitted a request for recognition with the Ministry of Justice early in Nov. 2014. After the Ministry inexplicably dragged its feet about responding to the request, the foundation asked the Central Administrative Review Commission in March to make an administrative decision.

“The Ministry of Justice develops, oversees, and revises policies related to all human rights issues in South Korea and is responsible for allowing organizations that advocate human rights to become incorporated. Since your foundation’s main objective is promoting human rights for a social minority, it is different in nature from the organizations that the ministry allows to incorporate. As such, we may not grant your foundation permission to incorporate,” the ministry said in an official document explaining its denial of the request.

“For the Ministry of Justice to claim that it oversees all of human rights issues in the country and then to refuse to grant us recognition is the same as saying that sexual minorities do not have human rights. We are exploring options including an administrative lawsuit,” foundation chairman Lee Shin-young said in a telephone interview with the Hankyoreh.

“Organizations advocating women’s rights go through the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, and organizations advocating rights for the disabled go through the Ministry of Welfare. In the same way, an organization working for sexual minorities should apply for recognition with the relevant government ministry,” an official with the Justice Ministry said.


By Heo Seung and Noh Hyun-woong, staff reporters


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