Paternity scandal violates boy’s rights

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Paternity scandal violates boy’s rights


I looked up my notes from college to find an answer to a complicated problem. I remembered that I had learned how to prioritize when moral values collide, but I couldn’t think of the exact terms. So my search was futile. I like to keep myself organized by throwing away unused items, so it was a matter of luck that I even had some of my old notes. I had to tackle this problem with common sense.

The question is how to judge the colliding values in the course of the scandal that resulted in Prosecutor-General Chae Dong-wook stepping down. A newspaper reported that Chae had a 10-year-old son from an extramarital relationship, and to support the claim, the report presented various circumstantial evidence by interviewing the child’s friends, their parents and school staff members.

Chae denied the claim and demanded that the newspaper publish a correction. He is willing to go through a DNA test. A prolonged dispute was about to begin. Then, the minister of justice ordered an open probe, and Chae tendered his resignation. Now, the dispute is over the ethics of a public figure and the independence of the prosecution.

Various values collide in the course of this scandal. Questions include whether Chae is lying and denying his own child and whether the administration is driving away a prosecutor-general who goes by the book - just to tame the prosecution. We need to watch closely how the probe digs into truth.

However, this scandal has already undermined the “highest value” that comes before all the previously discussed issues based on any standards: the protection of a child’s human rights. An attempt to infringe the human rights of a child - even if he is not “legitimate” and is born from an extramarital relationship - must not be tolerated.

However, the violation has been committed without reluctance. In order to prove the innocence of a man who may or may not be his father, the story of a boy has been exposed. A media outlet even used his young friends to reveal “the secrets of my friend’s birth.” Who will take responsibility for the emotional shock and confusion? Can this really happen in a normal society?

Disputes and controversies over powerful figures always happen. The Blue House has stated that this is not a political struggle but a matter of ethics. I want to believe their argument because it is beyond the tolerance of the citizens that they would go so far as to infringe the human rights of a young boy in order to win a power struggle.

*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

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