By Kim Eun-jung
A coalition of rights activist groups said Friday it has sent a letter to the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) asking it to send a fact-finding team to inspect South Korea’s human rights panel.
Hyun Byung-chul, who took office as chairman of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) in July 2009, is under pressure to resign after members of the commission quit en masse in protest against him.
Hyun, whose appointment to the commission became controversial because of his lack of experience in dealing with human rights issues, has come under growing criticism that he failed to speak on key issues that are sensitive for the government.
Defying the pressure for him to step down, Hyun said this week he intends to stay on the job.
“We have continuously pointed out that our government’s commitment to human rights is under threat; in particular, freedom of expression and social rights for vulnerable people,” said the open letter sent by the coalition that claims membership by 223 civic groups across the country.
“However, the NHRCK has not taken appropriate actions for the promotion and protection of human rights since 2009,” the letter said.