Korean activists unite to fight for orientation protection

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The South Korean government removal of ‘sexual orientation’ from its Anti-Discrimination Bill has galvanised activists in the csountry.

The Alliance against Homophobia and Discrimination of Sexual Minorities (AHDSM) was formed earlier this month in response to the changes are outraged by the u-turn.

A coalition of 40 LGBT groups in South Korea, AHDSM claim that an investigation conducted by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea showed that discrimination based on sexual orientation, education background and national origin form the basis of most discrimination in South Korea today.

AHDSM has launched a campaign for legislation of the Anti-Discrimination Bill in its original form.

According to the organisation, the seven categories are no longer protected by the bill which leaves them entirely dependent on the legal interpretations of individual judges.

“We are extremely disappointed with the current Participatory Government, which announced early on that it would protect the people from all forms of discrimination,” AHDSM said.

“We therefore cannot but call the current Anti-Discrimination Bill, from which seven categories and relief steps have been deleted groundlessly, a de facto Pro-Discrimination Bill.”

The government said that the new bill is based on international human rights conventions and examples of similar legislation abroad.

They admitted to removing the sexual orientation category because of the controversy that surrounded its insertion when the bill was drafted just a month ago.

Six other categories have also been deleted from the bill.

These include educational background, medical history, language, national origin, family type and status, and criminal and detention record.

The government has responded to criticism by stating that these deleted categories are now covered in the ‘and other reasons [for discrimination]’ clause.