“The ruling party called the anti-discrimination law ‘necessary but later’… Do you think that conservative votes will flicker?”

Two human rights activists sit in the National Assembly
“Embarrassed about delaying the bill”
To Rep. Park Jumin, who proposed
About 500 Eunpyeong-gu residents wrote a letter of protest

Lee Shim-ji, a permanent activist at the Seoul Human Rights Film Festival, holds a one-man protest in front of the main gate of the National Assembly on the 23rd, holding a sign urging the enactment of an anti-discrimination law within the year.

In front of the main gate of the National Assembly, there is a tent farmhouse urging the enactment of an anti-discrimination law. Members of the Anti-Discrimination Law Enactment Coalition have been guarding the plastic tent for the 16th day as of the 23rd. On the tent, the words ‘Enact by the end of the year, the National Assembly should enact an anti-discrimination law’ is written in large letters.

Two human rights activists in their 20s spent the night in a tent in sub-zero weather. These are Lee Shim-ji (28) and Go Un (29, active name), permanent activists at the Seoul Human Rights Film Festival. “I came here thinking that the National Assembly has no will to enact laws, so I have to do something,” said Go Un. The two held a one-man protest in front of the main gate of the National Assembly holding a sign that read, ‘Let’s finish it later, the anti-discrimination law comes first’.

In the National Assembly, an anti-discrimination law (equality law) bills proposed by the Justice Party, Lee Sang-min, Park Ju-min, and Kwon In-suk, respectively, are pending in the National Assembly. The National Assembly Legislation and Judiciary Committee postponed the review of the bill to May 2024, the closing date of the 21st National Assembly. As Democratic presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung expressed his prudence in legislation, the debate in the National Assembly also faltered.

Lee criticized, “It was postponed to 2024 because it was too late to abolish the bill ahead of the presidential election.” About 500 residents of Eunpyeong-gu in Seoul sent a letter to Eunpyeong-gap protesting the lukewarm bill handling to Rep. Park Jumin, a member of the constituency district. Right next to it is a protest against the anti-discrimination law led by conservative Christians. There was a sign that read, ‘Don’t make my child homosexual’. Go Woon said, “It’s sad to say something like that without shame.” The two met at the farmhouse.

– Why did you go to the sit-in?

“I came out thinking that if the National Assembly delays enacting a law, it means that it has no will to enact it, so if we do nothing, it will be a big deal.”

– The Judiciary Committee has delayed the review of the Anti-Discrimination Act to 2024.

“I was embarrassed to show that I did not want to handle the bill. President Moon Jae-in and lawmaker Park Ju-min are former human rights lawyers. Important human rights issues have not been resolved by the current government. Since the 2014 Anti-Discrimination Act was proposed and withdrawn, the Student Human Rights Ordinance has been repealed or withdrawn.”

– Presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung advocated prudence in legislation.

“’I need it but later’ means that I don’t need it now. Hate groups or conservative Protestants won’t vote for that. We must embrace those who have been hurt by hate and discrimination.”

– Yoon Seok-yeol, a presidential candidate for the People’s Power, said that the anti-discrimination law would destroy jobs.

“Korea has the largest gender wage gap among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. Many people with disabilities and young people are not even getting the minimum wage. If the law is enacted, discrimination against them will be reduced and better jobs will be created.”

– What do you want to say to the presidential candidates?

“I don’t want you to try to win votes by creating hatred and inciting conflict.”


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