Two of of the four major South Korean presidential candidates have responded to a questionnaire from Human Rights Watch on key human rights issues facing the South Korean people.
The elections will be held on 9 March.
Shim Sang-jung of the Justice Party and Lee Jae-myung of the Democratic Party of Korea submitted responses to the questionnaire. Ahn Cheol-soo of the People’s Party and Yoon Seok-youl of the People’s Power Party did not respond.
“Presidential candidates Shim Sang-jung and Lee Jae-myung have done South Korean voters a service by sharing their views on the critically important human rights issues affecting South Korea, as well as its relations with North Korea...” said Lina Yoon, senior Korea researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Sadly, human rights issues have largely been missing from debates and discussions in the South Korean presidential campaign.”
The Human Rights Watch questionnaire contained 15 questions focused on children’s rights to education, women’s rights, the rights of older people, the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, freedom of expression, and human rights policy toward North Korea.
“All South Korean presidential candidates should clearly state their positions on human rights issues...” Yoon said. “South Korean voters should know what their prospective future president thinks about discrimination, inequality, and freedom of expression.”
Both Shim Sang-jung and Lee Jae-myung responded positively to the need to provide legal recognition to same-sex relationships and to tackling discrimination against LGBTQ people.