Greetings, my fellow citizens and citizens in uniform!
As other areas of human rights, the human rights situations in the military have receded to the far past under the two consecutive neo-conservative administration though it was making small progress under the Kim Daejung's and Roh Muhyun's administration. Soldiers die of treatable diseases due to irrational medical and administrative system, the rights to the freedom of expression and opinion and the rights to privacy are trodden under the name of national security, and their welfare is often overlooked to pursue the economic efficiency. Those who are responsible are not investigated, prosecuted or punished properly.
The proportion of suicide out of soldier’s death toll maintains the top cause of death constantly; the Military Courts fail to maintain the independence of the Judicature, and fall far behind the development of human rights awareness of the public. Even the common sense of society does not work whenever the Center deals with the Ministry of National Defense. However, the Center upholds this idea that the Korean society can truly reform and make a progress when the military changes.
However, the military authority and the military culture obstinately refuse external monitoring or guidance, and the trail for alternation from the outside is often considered a stain on the name of sacred military service; therefore, numerous human rights infringement cases occurr and recurr. To sustain this absurdity, the military life is considered by soldiers as a kind of a rite of passage for them to endure or tolerate. There is a strong atmosphere that makes the one who brings up a problem look like a social misfit or a reactionary.
Even under this condition, the CMHRK wishes that the military health and safety system would improve so that invaluable life shall not be disregarded in the military; commanders would take responsibility for accidents under their control; as citizens in uniform soldiers shall enjoy other civil and social rights - especially, the rights to freedom of expression and opinion; an alternative military service shall be adopted; the sodomy law from 1950s would be repealed which criminalizes, degrades and discriminates the consensual same-sex relationship; the principles of protection of victims of sex crimes in the military would be upheld; military justice system would be transferred to the civilian courts and system as well as abolition of military guardhouse detention, i.e. arbitrary detention, would be accomplished; the introduction of military ombudsperson system for the security sector would be adopted to monitor, improve and guide all of above.
Military that protects human rights is truly strong armed forces. It is certain that the national security will be reinforced when the military is governed under the idea of human rights: togae cedant arma. The CMHRK will work hard to ensure the military uphold the Constitution and Universal Declaration of Human Rights in which citizens and peoples may live and work safer and happier.