NHRIs give substance to #metoo movement
Graphic: Commission Chairperson Choi Young-ae at the launch of the inquiry
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea is the latest APF member to tackle sexual abuse and harassment.
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea will undertake the country's largest-ever investigation into sexual abuse in sport after an Olympic speed skating star accused her former coach of abuse, triggering similar accounts from many other athletes.
The inquiry will aim to address "systematic, sustained" abuse in sports and support victims who have not spoken up because of fear of being pushed out of their sport, Commission Chairperson Choi Young-ae said at the inquiry's launch.
"We will conduct a fact-finding inquiry that will be the largest in scale ever," Choi told reporters at the media conference in Seoul.
Up to about 30,000 people – including athletes, coaches, officials and others involved in a wide range of sports – are likely to be interviewed during the year-long inquiry.
Choi said that for too long victims had not spoken out because of a "results-centred culture focused on medals".
An "independent, constant, national surveillance system" would be established to gather data, conduct inquiries and educate officials on human rights, she said.
We will conduct a fact-finding inquiry that will be the largest in scale ever.
Graphic: Young skaters at a practice session
The Commission's inquiry is one of a number of high-profile projects being undertaken by APF members to address sexual harassment and violence against women and girls.
"With the #metoo movement starting a global conversation on the issue, national human rights institutions are playing a practical role to address the many different manifestations of sexual violence against women," APF Gender Focal Point Pip Dargan said.
In the past year, national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in the region have:
- Made recommendations to government and other stakeholders to address family violence following a landmark national inquiry (Samoa)
- Prepared a comprehensive annual report on violence against women, with recommendations to address its causes (Afghanistan)
- Identified causes and trends in the trafficking of vulnerable women and girls, and launched a campaign to improve police responses to sexual assault (Nepal)
- Commenced a national inquiry to address sexual harassment in the workplace (Australia)
- Advocated for legal reform requiring employers to adopt policies on family violence (New Zealand)
Promoting gender equality – as these NHRIs are doing with such commitment – is one of the APF's key objectives, Ms Dargan said.
"We also encourage our members to advance gender equality within their NHRIs, through the decisions they take in relation to staffing and their employment policies and practices," she said.
"This is important because it helps make NHRIs more accessible and ensures that women who have experienced human rights violations can get the support they need, in a safe environment."
Date: 25 January 2019
- Commission Chairperson Choi Young-ae at the launch of the inquiry - National Human Rights Commission of Korea
- Young skaters at a practice session - seoulfuladventures, Flickr; http://bit.ly/2MuVWWr