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Republic of Korea

Monthly Event Reports

January 2024 | Knife attack on opposition leader raises security concerns

South Korean opposition leader Lee Jae-myung of the Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) was stabbed in the neck at a political event on 2 January in Busan. Lee sustained serious injuries, with the assailant quickly apprehended at the scene. The motive behind the attack was reportedly to prevent Lee from becoming president, amid a grudge that Lee was “not properly punished” in relation to delayed corruption charges. The incident occurs mere months before South Korea’s general election set for 10 April in which the DPK’s parliamentary majority is at stake. In subsequent weeks, lawmaker Bae Hyun-jin of the People Power Party was struck in the back of the head with a rock in Seoul. President Yoon Suk Yeol denounced the attacks as a threat to democracy and called for increased protection for politicians.

February 2023 | Court recognizes same-sex partners for first time

A high court on 21 February 2023 ordered the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) to provide spousal coverage to same-sex couples, marking the first time a court has legally recognized social benefits for same-sex couples in South Korea. The ruling overturned a lower court ruling in January 2022 that declined to recognize the same-sex couples as common law spouses. While hailed as a leap forward in expanding LGBTQIA+ rights, significant barriers remain, with one of the petitioning partners noting that "The right we've obtained is 1 out of 1,000 that a [heterosexual] married couple has had." Despite its narrow reach, rights activists remain hopeful that the verdict will establish a precedent for enabling future rulings based on the same principles of equality and non-discrimination. NHIS plans to challenge the ruling in the Supreme Court.

December 2022 | Alleged labour right violations amid truckers’ strike

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Seoul on 3 December to denounce the government's attempts to force thousands of striking truckers back to work following a 16-day strike over minimum wage protections. The Yoon government invoked a never-used 2004 law on 29 November to force the striking truckers back to work or face up to three years of imprisonment or hefty fines. Critics allege that the Yoon administration's work order suppresses protesters' labour rights. The strikes are a continuation of protests held earlier this year in April.

November 2022 | Concerns over restrictions on press freedom

Media, experts, and opposition parties have raised concerns over growing press freedom violations by the Yoon Suk-Yeol government over the past month. Some of these moves include barring a major media outlet - Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) - from joining a travelling press pool, as well as the government’s announced funding cuts for 2024 to a popular radio broadcaster - Traffic Broadcasting System (TBS) – amid claims of political bias in its programmes seen as having an unfavourable disposition toward the Yoon-Suk-Yeol administration.

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GSoD Indices Data 2013-2022

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Basic Information

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Population Tooltip
51 744 880
System of government
Presidential system
Head of government
President Yoon Suk-yeol (since 2022)
Head of government party
People Power Party
Electoral system for lower or single chamber
Mixed Member Proportional system
Women in lower or single chamber
18.6%
Women in upper chamber
Not applicable
Last legislative election
2020
Effective number of political parties Tooltip
3.1
Head of state
President Yoon Suk-yeol
Selection process for head of state
Direct election (plurality)
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) date
09/11/2017
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) percentage of recommendations supported
55.50%
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Human Rights Treaties

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State Party State party
Signatory Signatory
No Action No action
United Nations Human Right Treaties
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
State Party
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
State Party
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
State Party
Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
State Party
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment
State Party
Convention on the Rights of the Child
State Party
International Convention on Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
No Action
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance 
No Action
International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
State Party
International Labour Organisation Treaties
Forced Labour Convention
State Party
Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention
State Party
Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention
State Party
Equal Remuneration Convention
State Party
Abolition of Forced Labour Convention
No Action
Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention
State Party
Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment
State Party
Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention
State Party
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Performance by category over the last 6 months

Representation neutral Representation
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Mar 2024
Representation neutral Rights
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Representation neutral Rule of law
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Representation neutral Participation
Oct 2023
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Mar 2024

Global State of Democracy Indices

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Explore the indices
Representation
Representation
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Rights
Rights
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Rule of Law
Rule of Law
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Participation
Participation
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4

Factors of Democratic Performance Over Time

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