[EDITORIALS]Politics Embroils Human Rights

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[EDITORIALS]Politics Embroils Human Rights

We are witnessing an unprecedented event: A national organization is being launched without a single official to work for it. The National Human Rights Commission opens Monday with only 11 commission members while its structure and scale have yet to be decided. This is because the Ministry of Government Adminstration and Home Affairs, arguing for small government, and the commission have failed to make a compromise.

The commission is saying that it needs at least 320 officials to investigate infringements of human rights and various discriminations, to aid victims of such violations, to educate the people and to promote human rights as the governing law demands. But the ministry is insisting that no more than 120 officials can make up the commission.

The commission members announced they would open the commission on schedule, although the bill governing its personnel structure has not been submitted to the cabinet. The commission says that it will receive grievances from the people. The commission members seem to think that they conceded to the ministry as much as they can, since they had already agreed to cut 119 to 320 officials from their original demand. That is why the members seem to have shown their displeasure to the ministry by openning the commission as scheduled. But the commission should not start like this.

As we saw in the case of Susie Kim, infringement of human rights by law enforcement authorities, including the National Intelligence Service, are at a serious level. In the name of welfare, a few facilities are infringing on human rights. There are also people alienated from society, like prisoners and North Korean defectors. We should not neglect human rights violations on them. To correct the situation, it cannot be too early to open the commission. But if it cannot operate appropriately, launching it now is of no use.

If the commission starts abnormally, it proves that the government is indifferent to human rights. The ministry should keep in mind that an organization incapable of doing what it is supposed to do is itself a waste. We demand that the commission get normalized as soon as possible.
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