South Korea: Seoul mayor apologises for axing human rights charter

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The Mayor of Seoul has issued an apology to LGBT activists, after scrapping a charter that would have outlawed discrimination against gays.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government recently cancelled plans to enact a human rights charter – which had been due to come in on December 10 – after fierce protests against it.

The charter picked up flack from church groups and conservatives because it included the right “not to be discriminated against based on his or her sexual orientation or sexual identity”.

LGBT activists had occupied city hall, calling on Mayor Park Won-soon to apologise for postponing the charter – and he met with the group this week.

Amid a call to apologise, the mayor told gay protesters at a meeting: “It is my responsibility and fault. I am sorry for the emotional pain that you have suffered and will make whatever statements that you demand.

“This is an occasion for me to offer comfort for the emotional pain that you have suffered and to apologize to you.

“Regardless of any misunderstanding or statement, no citizen will be subjected to discrimination or disadvantage.

“I will search for practical ways of resolving the difficulties that you suffer from.”

A statement from the protesters of Rainbow Action said: “The protesters concluded that the promise made by the mayor during the private conversation was important.


“Through a meeting with Innovation Officer Jun Hyo-gwan held in the morning of December 11, the protesters confirmed the metropolitan government’s will to implement plans for the creation of a collaborative panel consisting of the relevant organizations to eradicate discrimination in city governance. They therefore decided to conclude the sit-in.”