In Brief

South Korea: conservative MPs push to reduce LGBT+ rights

Right-wing politician has proposed an amendment to the country’s laws

A group of conservative MPs in South Korea have sparked controversy by proposing the removal of multiple protections for LGBT+ people from the county’s anti-discrimination laws.

 An amendment submitted this month by a member of the main opposition Liberty Korea party seeks to remove sexual minorities from groups protected by the law.

The amendment said the inclusion of the words “sexual orientation” in the law “legally and actively protects and promotes homosexuality”, according to a report by Seoul-based journalist Raphael Rashid.

Ahn Sang-soo, the MP who submitted the controversial amendment, said that he and other members of his ultra-conservative party want to remove the words from the list of protected groups as they believe that “gender is either (biologically) male or female”, Rashid’s report adds.

Rashid quotes Ahn as saying: “A number of health hazards in the world are occurring, such as the unprecedented surge of new cases of AIDS infections. Any sound criticism or opposition to homosexuality based on freedom of conscience, religion, expression… is considered discrimination and is strictly prohibited.”

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Ahn’s amendment is currently supported by approximately 40 MPs in the 300-member national assembly, The Guardian reports.

Amnesty International has spoken out against Ahn’s amendment, calling it a “shameful move backwards for human rights in South Korea” that will leave LGBT+ people “exposed to discrimination in all factors of their life and make them easy targets for abuse, threats and possible violence, with no recourse to legal protection”.

The Guardian adds that activists have protested outside the assembly building in Seoul and called for the pro-amendment MPs to resign.

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