All posts tagged: human rights

Korean student speaks out against government hiring practice requiring interpreters to “look pretty”

“Why is it my duty to be pretty just because the President [of Korea] is coming to town? Image: JTBC News A Korean student currently studying in Paris has spoken out against absurd hiring conditions imposed at the 2016 KCON France held at AccorHotels Arena on June 2nd (the original message can be found on her Facebook account. A transcript is available via Kyunghyang Daily) Elodie Kim was hired as an interpreter at the KCON. But she was later demanded by KakaoTalk (equivalent of WhatsApp), to provide her measurements and a full-body photo. She asks whether they are indeed talking about the same job offer – that of an interpreter. The hiring agent replies “Yes, but looks are important”. Another student hired at the event is told that “You are hired as an assistant at an information booth for Korean SMEs. Looks matter as much as your [French] language skills”. Bibigo (Korea, US, UK), a Korean restaurant chain, has gone as far to highlight in red that their hiring requirements are “looks, French language skills, and …

EAHRNK conference on UN Inquiry into North Korea’s human rights violations

North Korea denies 2014 COI report, accuses witnesses and COI members of conspiracy I was in London earlier in March to attend the European Alliance for Human Rights in North Korea (EAHRNK)‘s conference on the Commission of Inquiry. The conference was attended by South Korean diplomats, North Korean exiles (the EAHRNK chose the term’exile’ over ‘defectees’, which I find to be more appropriate), journalists (British and Korean, including the BBC and YTN – Dan Damon was there!) , diplomatic and NGO representations (including UN Women), and of course, students. Commissioner Michael Kirby, lead author of the 2014 COI report gave a moving speech – I highly recommend you take a look at his speeches on NKHR. Dr. Lee Jung-hoon, Human Rights Ambassador of the ROK and professor at Yonsei University’s Graduate School of International Studies gave the keynote speech – very moving, I wish there was a recording of this somewhere. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales was also supposed to give a speech – but did not attend. The EAHRNK prides itself in including exiles in its organisation, and …

Korean Dictionary Reverts to Homophobic State

  The 1999 Edition of Standard Korean Unabridged Dictionary, published by NIKL Image source: Emily Singh In November 2012, the Standard Korean Unabridged Dictionary, published by the National Institute of Korean Language(NIKL), re-defined five words: 사랑 (love) 애정 (love) 연애 (dating, courtship) 연인 (meaning ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’ without referring to specific gender) 애인 (meaning ‘lover’ without referring to specific gender) All five words were changed to gender-neutral definitions. For instance, ‘love’ was re-defined from a feeling of attraction towards a member of the opposite sex to a feeling of attraction between two people. Likewise, lover was redefined as two people who are attracted to each other, as opposed to a female and male person who are attracted to each other. Many members of the LGBT community rejoiced at this small change, which would allow them to talk about themselves and their feelings free from heterosexuality-based words. However, barely a year later, in January 2014, Christian advocacy groups (technically, Protestant) lobbied into reverting these newly defined words to their original state. Such religious advocacy groups have been backing anti-LGBT movements in many different forms – When dramas with LGBT characters are …

LGBT Poster vandalized on university campus…yet again!

Korean LGBT folk have it pretty bad. In fact, they’re not too surprised to be targeted, teased, or discriminated. It’s just the way things have been, and continue to be. In fact, a gay friend told me that back in the early 2000s when he was in university, LGBT societies would get student Christian groups gatherings in front of their club room, sprinkle holy water on their door, and sing gospel songs “in order to save those poor souls being led astray by Satan”. This doesn’t happen anymore, maybe due to the fact that since then, LGBT societies would be given “anonymous” club rooms on campuses, disguising their namecards on the door or by merging many of their activities with the women’s rights groups. But university LGBT societies have constantly been unable to even welcome newly admitted students, like many other societies and clubs do – mostly because some crazy individuals acting in the name of the Christian religion keep vandalising their posters and placards. Although this is not the first time such an event has …