Human Rights in South Korea: Fault Lines and Frontiers

This paper maps out current challenges for human rights and the human rights movement in South Korea. It argues that, while recent political developments in the country may appear to give us reason for optimism, they also mask fault lines that the human rights movement must address, including issues surrounding gender rights, LGBT rights, and economic inequality. Some of these fault lines, such as those triggered by widening economic gaps, are consonant with global challenges for human rights. Others involve dynamics that are specific to Korea. Important among these is the complex relation between the twentieth-century democracy movement in Korea and the contemporary human rights movement. The paper concludes with some tentative recommendations for the latter.