[EDITORIALS]Do away with hojuje

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[EDITORIALS]Do away with hojuje

Because the proposal to amend our civil law and abolish hojuje, the family registration system, won cabinet approval Tuesday, it needs only the approval of the National Assembly. The proposal to abolish hojuje is the result of the efforts made by a special task force of 11 civic groups and seven government agencies over the past five months.
Hojuje has been an issue in every recent presidential election, but until now, the proposal to abolish it has never been pushed successfully after the election campaigns were over.
It is time for the National Assembly to change it. The system is out of tune with our changing society.
Hojujue is a backward-looking heritage that keeps sexual discrimination alive; it has been criticized not only domestically but in other countries as well.
Female activists have cried out for its demise for the past 40 years, and the National Human Rights Commission of Korea concluded in March 2002 that the hojuje system violates the constitution by denying human value and dignity.
Beginning with the criticism of hojuje by the UN Human Rights Commission in 1999, the international community has constantly shown concern about the system that strengthens male dominance.
Some voices worry about the weakening of our traditional culture that cherishes family values. But the number of people suffering from the hojuje system is increasing, and there have been nine appeals to the Constitutional Court requesting abolition of the hojuje system since 2001.
It is hard to ignore children who are treated harshly because their mother was remarried and their surnames are different from their stepfather’s, or that a family tree ends legally just because that family had only daughters in one generation.
A new system should keep the father’s surname and registry, but have an option to move their registration if necessary.
This proposal has been rattling around for a long time. The Assembly should act on it swiftly.
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