‘Now is the time to pass anti-discrimination law'

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

‘Now is the time to pass anti-discrimination law’
Rep. Jang Hye-young of the Justice Party (Shot and edited by Team Konnect)South Korea’s upcoming presidential election is just one month away. But overshadowed by other issues such as housing prices and family misbehavior, the two leading candidates Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea and Yoon Suk-yeol of the People Power Party have tiptoed around the issue of an anti-discrimination law.

One party’s stance on the issue, however, has been crystal clear –– an anti-discrimination bill needs to be passed now, said Rep. Jang Hye-young of the progressive Justice Party.

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

“An anti-discrimination law has been a campaign promise since the 2020 legislative elections both at the candidate and party level. The Justice Party and candidate Sim Sang-jung believe it’s high time that the legislation was passed,” said the 34-year-old rookie lawmaker in an exclusive interview with The Korea Herald.

“South Korea has become the 10th largest economy, yet discrimination still occurs in some people’s lives every day.”

Global Tech News Daily

Jang is one of the youngest politicians in South Korea — a country where roughly 4 in 5 lawmakers are men. Young, outspoken and a woman, she has fostered a following on social media among young progressives, feminists and sexual minorities, as clips of her defending women’s safety, feminism and protection of sexual minorities in a TV debate went viral. Since taking office in 2020, she has also been an ardent supporter of anti-discrimination legislation. 

‘Now is the time to pass anti-discrimination law’
Justice Party Rep. Jang Hye-young at the Herald Studio in Seoul (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)Before politics, she was many things – an auteur, singer/song writer, author, YouTuber and human rights activist. When asked why she entered politics, she said it was after “feeling tired” of waiting for politicians to bring real change that she decided to do it herself.

Global Tech News Daily

Jang also has a sister who has a disability. The lawmaker said the world seen through the lens of her sister looks very different to what those without disabilities see. She also has LGBT friends. Her social circle has opened her eyes to social issues that many people face in South Korea.

“When you discover one kind of discrimination, you naturally start to notice other kinds of discrimination too,” she said.

An old controversy

Examples of discrimination are easily found in South Korean society today.

Seven in 10 LGBT youths hide their identity at work, with over 40 percent having experienced a negative attitude towards sexual minorities at work, according to a recent survey by LGBT Youth group Dawoom. There have been multiple reports of xenophobia and discrimination against foreigners during the pandemic – shops refusing to serve foreigners or municipal governments imposing mandatory COVID-19 testing on all foreign residents. The central government’s failure last year to recognize foreigners’ vaccinations if they received them abroad also prompted criticism from ambassadors of several countries.

In December, the country’s unicameral legislature, the National Assembly, was also urged by the Human Rights Watch to enact a comprehensive anti-discrimination law to address “pervasive discrimination against marginalized groups” in the country.

The push to enact an anti-discrimination law began in the early 2000s in South Korea and the first government-led bill was proposed in 2007 under the Roh Moo-hyun administration. But following a backlash, mainly from conservative religious groups, discrimination against sexual orientation was removed from the bill.

Since then, there have been several legislative attempts, but none made any meaningful progress.

Rep. Jang proposed another bill in June 2020 which is designed to prevent discrimination based on aspects including gender, disability, age, nationality, race, religion and sexual orientation. But as with other similar proposals, it has not even once been debated in the Assembly.

Proposals for an anti-discrimination law have proven controversial due to opposition from mostly right-wing Christian groups. Their backlash has forced many politicians to tread carefully. But recent surveys have shown there is strong support, even among religious people.

“Fifteen years ago, I would’ve said backlash from religious groups is the biggest obstacle. But now it is more to do with the politicians and their force of habit,” said the politician.

‘Now is the time to pass anti-discrimination law’
From right: Reps. Kwon In-sook, Lee Sang-min, Park Ju-min and Jang Hye-yeong pose for a photo after a press conference demanding action to pass the anti-discrimination law. (Joint Press Corps)The popular rhetoric to use to oppose the debate, she continued, is to bring up the need to reach social consensus. “But social consensus can no longer be used as an excuse. Citizens have done all they can and the onus is now on the politicians who have delayed to reach political consensus.”

Of course, a law alone won’t solve all problems. But Rep. Jang is convinced it will create a pathway to solving cases of discrimination more easily while working as a deterrent.

“Once passed, people will have a standard to look to when they think about discrimination, how to be careful and reflect on themselves.

“We’ll have a reasonable tool that protects citizens from unjust discrimination.”

When passed, those who feel discriminated will have a process through which they can report their case to the National Human Rights Commission of Korea. Then the commission will listen to both sides and decide whether there was unreasonable discrimination. Rep. Jang’s proposed bill would have given the commission the power to impose a fine of up to 30 million won on those who ignore corrective orders without a good reason after being found of engaging in discrimination.

‘Now is the time to pass anti-discrimination law’
Lawmaker Jang Hye-young (right) protests alongside Justice Party’s presidential candidate Sim Sang-jung against a proposed two-way TV debate between the two major political parties on Jan. 30. (The Justice Party)

Is South Korea ready?

One survey conducted last year by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea showed nearly 9 in 10 people agreed that an anti-discrimination law should be enacted. Some 42 percent of Protestants in the country support the legislation while 31.5 percent are against it, according to a survey from the Christian Institute for the Study of Justice and Development released on Thursday.

A petition calling for the adoption of the law, filed by a job applicant who faced discrimination during her job interview, also racked up over 100,000 signatures last year. It prompted a group of lawmakers to put forward a new bill preventing discrimination.

As LGBT awareness has increased and prejudice has dropped, LGBT representation in the media has also become more prevalent, the lawmaker said. She also noted there are various opinions within the church.

“While one side strongly opposes an anti-discrimination law, there are other voices that see the need to enact the legislation within the church,” she explained.

In late October, it was reported that President Moon Jae-in had told his staff that the time had come to consider introducing an anti-discrimination law.

While the report garnered support from the president’s supporters, progressives slammed him for being too late with just a few months remaining in his term. His party has also held more than half of the seats in the Assembly since 2020. Jang agreed.

“It’s a fair criticism. Soon after President Moon took office, he had near 80 percent approval ratings. He had the power to push through with his agenda, even a difficult one. He should’ve made the decision for the human rights of minorities when he had power.”

“His remark almost seems it was designed to help him avoid responsibility.”

Two years into the coronavirus pandemic, Jang said more people have realized that anyone can end up being a minority.

“Many people lost what they considered their rights and freedoms overnight just because they contracted the coronavirus.”

As clusters of infections emerged at churches across the country, Jang said she once received an email from churchgoers who came to support anti-discrimination law after being ostracized from another group they used to belong to over their association with church outbreaks.

“The email I received talked about realizing why comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation inclusive of everyone is necessary, how anyone can end up being a subject of discrimination.”

“Sometimes we are a majority but other times we are a minority.”

By Yim Hyun-su (heraldcorp.com)

Video by Team Konnect 
Kim Min-jung (minjung.kim@heraldcorp.com) 
Jung Ji-eun (jungje@heraldcorp.com) 
Choi Jeong-yoon (jychoi@heraldcorp.com) 
Kim Jeong-ryul (ryul@heraldcorp.com)

By Yim Hyun-su (hyunsu@heraldcorp.com)

News Related


Soaring oil prices, weakening won weigh on Korea's economy

International oil prices feared to hit $100 a barrel By Yi Whan-woo A toxic mixture of soaring oil prices and a weakening Korean won are expected to put a further ... Read more »

Korean companies capitalize on sustainable consumption

Samsung Electronics said Monday that it developed a new material by recycling abandoned fishing nets like the one pictured above for its new Galaxy devices. Courtesy of Samsung Electronics By ... Read more »

Woori Financial nominates new head of banking arm

Woori Bank’s headquarters in Seoul / Yonhap By Lee Min-hyung Woori Bank CEO nominee Lee Won-duk Woori Financial Group nominated Senior Deputy President Lee Won-duk as the next leader of ... Read more »

ShillaJen fiasco raises bar for bio firms' IPOs

SillaJen shareholders protest in front of the Korea Exchange (KRX) on Yeouido, Seoul, Jan. 18. Newsis By Anna J. Park The country’s bourse operator Korea Exchange (KRX) is set to ... Read more »

Samsung SDI lags behind LG, SK in overseas ventures

Samsung SDI headquarters in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province / Courtesy of Samsung SDI By Park Jae-hyuk Samsung SDI, which is less active than LG Energy Solution (LGES) and SK on in ... Read more »

President Moon urges calm amid surge in Omicron variant infections

President Moon Jae-in speaks during a Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure meeting at Cheong Wa Dae, Monday. Courtesy of Cheong Wa Dae Korea introduces new COVID-19 control scheme focused on ... Read more »

Questions remain over Kolon heir's managerial succession

Kolon Global Vice President Lee Kyu-ho By Park Jae-hyuk Kolon Global Vice President Lee Kyu-ho is still facing a tall task to prove his management ability, despite Kolon Group’s accelerated ... Read more »

Lotte Insurance appoints new CEO

Lotte Insurance CEO Lee Eun-ho / Courtesy of Lotte Insurance By Anna J. Park Lotte Insurance, a Korea-headquartered insurance firm with expertise in non-life insurance, appointed a new CEO, Lee ... Read more »

Facing omicron wave, schools shift to ‘normalcy'

Students attend an elementary school in Seoul, Monday. The Ministry of Education announced new measures for schools set for the new semester in March, including new testing protocols and four-stage ... Read more »

Top nuclear envoys of S. Korea, US, Japan to meet in Hawaii for talks on NK

Passersby watch a TV news report on North Korea’s launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile at Seoul Station in central Seoul on Jan. 30, marking the seventh round of the ... Read more »

'Robot chefs' unveiled at boot camp to cut troops' workloads, improve meals

This composite photo, released by South Korea’s defense ministry on Monday, shows cooking robots carrying out repetitive tasks (R) at the Army’s 28th Recruit Training Regiment in Nonsan, 213 kilometers ... Read more »

Ruling party's attempt to revive late progressive icons backfires

A video uploaded Saturday on the official YouTube channel of the Democratic Party of Korea shows former President Roh Moo-hyun with a voice mimicking him asking support for the party`s ... Read more »

Celltrion's inhaled COVID-19 treatment found to be safe in clinical trial

The government said Saturday it will begin supplying Celltrion’s COVID-19 antibody treatment to medical facilities in mid-February. Yonhap Korean pharmaceutical giant Celltrion said Monday that its inhaled version of an ... Read more »

S. Korea, US not mulling additional THAAD deployment: defense ministry

Military vehicles transport missiles to the site of the THAAD base in the town of Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province. (Yonhap)South Korea and the United States are not considering the deployment ... Read more »

Korean battery makers take up 30.4% of global market share in 2021

LG Energy Solution employees pose with the company’s battery product. Courtesy of LG Energy Solution The combined global market share of three major South Korean battery makers declined last year ... Read more »

Moon, Turkmen president exchange letters marking 30th anniversary of relations

A view of Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul (Yonhap)President Moon Jae-in and Turkmen President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov exchanged letters celebrating the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Cheong ... Read more »

PM hints at possible increase in extra budget for pandemic-hit merchants

Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum speaks at a meeting of the parliamentary committee on budget and accounts at the National Assembly in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum hinted Monday ... Read more »

Govt. launches team to support vulnerable N. Korean defectors

Ministry of Unification (Yonhap)The South Korean government launched an interagency team Monday tasked with helping North Korean defectors suffering from economic and psychological difficulties after resettlement here. The nine-member team, ... Read more »

Moon urges more neighborhood hospitals to join fight against omicron wave

President Moon Jae-in speaks at a COVID-19 response meeting on Monday, in this photo provided by Cheong Wa Dae. (Cheong Wa Dae)President Moon Jae-in on Monday called for more neighborhood ... Read more »

Korea's new COVID-19 cases above 35,000 for 3rd day as Omicron's spread picks up

People wait in line to be tested for COVID-19 at a makeshift testing center in Seoul on Feb. 7 as the country’s new caseload hit a fresh high of 35,131 ... Read more »

[Graphic News] Lottery sales hit all-time high in 2021 amid COVID-19 pandemic

Lottery sales in South Korea rose 10.3 percent on-year to reach an all-time high last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, data showed. Sales of lottery tickets stood at 5.98 trillion ... Read more »

N. Korea marks 6th anniv. of Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite launch

DPRK`s National Aerospace Development Administration (NADA)North Korea on Monday celebrated the sixth anniversary of what it claims to be a major satellite launch, its state media said, highlighting Pyongyang’s resolve ... Read more »

Yoon leads Lee 43.4% to 38.1%: poll

This compilation image shows (from L to R) presidential candidates Lee Jae-myung, Yoon Suk-yeol, Sim Sang-jeung and Ahn Cheol-soo. (Yonhap)Main opposition presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol is leading his ruling party ... Read more »

N. Korea stays silent on much-anticipated parliamentary meeting

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presides over a politburo meeting of the Workers’ Party at the headquarters of the party’s Central Committee in Pyongyang on Jan. 19, 2022, in this ... Read more »

Korea's foreign reserves decline for 3rd straight month in January

gettyimagesbank Korea’s foreign reserves shrank for the third straight month in January due to a decline in dollar-converted value of holdings in other currencies, central bank data showed Monday. The ... Read more »

Self-employed at risk of default as government set to end COVID-19 relief program

A street food vendor cooks tteokbokki, or spicy Korean rice cakes, at a market in Seoul on Jan. 20. Yonhap By Lee Min-hyung Small business owners are under mounting pressure ... Read more »

Capital gains tax on stock investors emerges as key voting issue

The presidential candidates pose before their first joint TV debate at broadcaster KBS’ studio on Yeouido, Seoul, Feb. 3. From left are Sim Sang-jung of the minor Justice Party, Lee ... Read more »

2 in 3 young people positive about plant-based meat consumption

Dishes made with plant-based meat / Courtesy of Shinsegae Food By Kim Rahn More than two out of three young people are positive about consuming plant-based meat, mainly because they ... Read more »

Spin-off shows for hit reality shows and drama series on rise

A still from the reality show, “We Don’t Bite: Street Woman Fighter” / Courtesy of tvN By Lee Gyu-lee Networks are making use of their hit shows and drama series ... Read more »

FTC to decide on conditional approval of Korean Air-Asiana merger

Korean Air’s headquarters building in Seoul. Korea Times file By Kim Hyun-bin The country’s top antitrust watchdog is expected to announce its final decision to push forward with a conditional ... Read more »

Competition heating up among conglomerates to recruit talented staff

Getty images By Kim Hyun-bin Major conglomerates are starting to hire new and experienced employees, including in the highly competitive semiconductor and battery industries. Samsung is currently the only company ... Read more »

Samsung, LG struggle over performance-based bonuses

Unionized workers at Samsung Electronics apply to the National Labor Relations Commission for arbitration, at the Government Complex Sejong, Friday. Yonhap By Park Jae-hyuk Performance-based bonuses have become a major ... Read more »

[Herald Interview] Politics startup seeks to bring power of data to people ahead of elections

Ryu Ho-hyon, Oxopolitics CEO and founder (left) and Ryu Chan-hyun, the COO and co-founder of the company. (Oxopolitics) Transparent and unbiased data will help potential voters and politicians make rational ... Read more »

US rate hikes, COVID-19 spike escalate anxiety on KOSPI

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell holds on online-only news conference from the Federal Reserve building in Washington, Jan. 26. Screenshot from the U.S. Federal Reserve video broadcast via Reuters-Yonhap ... Read more »

Korea's nuclear phase-out policy losing further ground

A nuclear plant in Uljin, North Gyeongsang Province Korea Times file By Lee Kyung-min Korea should take into account a recent move by the European Commission (EC) to recognize nuclear ... Read more »

COVID-19 cases surpass 1 million; Omicron infects 38,000 in 1 day

People line up at a city park in Gangnam District in Seoul, Feb. 6, for PCR testing to confirm whether they are infected with COVID-19. Newsis Government offers Paxlovid to ... Read more »

Election remains foggy with Lee, Yoon neck and neck in polls

Candidates Lee Jae-myung of Democratic Party (left) and Yoon Suk-yeol of People Power Party prepare for TV debate held Thursday. (Joint Press Corps) Even after the first TV debate held ... Read more »

S. Korea says hanbok is indisputably part of its culture, urges China's respect

This file photo is not related to the article. (Yonhap)South Korea plans to continue global efforts to publicize hanbok, the traditional Korean attire, as its signature culture, a government official ... Read more »

Presidential candidates to register with election watchdog on Feb. 13-14

Election officials stage a campaign at a square in Daegu, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on Jan. 27, 2022, to promote voting in the March 9 presidential election. (Yonhap)With the ... Read more »

NK continues nuclear program, relies on cyberattacks for revenue: UN report

The combination of images provided by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency shows its intermediate-range ballistic missile, Hwasong 12, being launched Jan. 30. (KCNA-Yonhap)North Korea continued to expand its ... Read more »