Korean HRC issues guidelines on sports and human rights
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Korean HRC issues guidelines on sports and human rights

You may recall the scandals that emerged in 2008 regarding sexual assaults of student-athletes and professional athletes by their coaches (for example in many women’s sports and in professional basketball). Original article in Korean is at this link.

On the 13th the National Human Rights Commission (국가인권위원회) published its “Sports and Human Rights Guidelines” and distributed it to sports organizations with the recommendation that they implement it.

The NHRCK also created a manual for its implementation, which was sent to the head of the Ministry of Science, Education, and Technology (교육과학기술부), the head of the (문화체육관광부), municipal and provincial education authorities, and another sports organization (대한체육회장).

The guidelines are divided into four parts: a charter; prevention of violence; prevention of sexual violence; and protection of educational rights.

The ‘charter’ says that human rights must be protected and contains a comprehensive plan for sports and human rights policy.

In ‘prevention of violence’ and ‘prevention of sexual violence’, the manual calls for concrete policies to prevent such violence.

In ‘protection of educational rights’ it emphasizes the need to protect educational rights by emphasizing a student-athlete’s entire person, not just athletic ability.

It also recommends that corporal punishment and violence between upper and lower students not be allowed and that athletees not be isolated from the group without reason.

It advises eliminating putting athletes through over-strenuous exercise or training and insults. If there is a violent incident then there should be regularized processes in place to report to superiors or agencies.

Also, to prevent sexual violence, when a person in authority approaches a student there should be advance notification or consent and the door should be kept open. It recommends avoiding situations where face-to-face talks or training are held privately.

During training camp the consent of guardians should be obtained and leaders and athletes should not share rooms.

The NHRCK plans to confer with local organizations on the implementation of the guidelines.

An official with the NHRCK explained that “we have presented normative standards for policies to improve the level of human rights protection in sports… it will aid sports leaders in created an atmosphere protective of human rights.”

In 2007 the NHRCK prepared a report titled “Recommendations to Protect and Promote the Rights of Student Athletes” (학생선수 인권보호 및 증진을 위한 정책 권고), which it used to recommend human rights policies in elite-level sports and to form policies to protect the rights of student-athletes.