Association

Article 21 of South Korea’s 1987 Constitution guarantees the freedom of association, while the Civil Act governs the registration and operation of organisations. Article 32 of the Act requires associations and foundations to seek permission in order to acquire legal personality. The authorities can revoke this permission when a CSO’s activities fall outside their purpose, or when they violate conditions attached to the permission. In practice, authorities do sometimes reject applications from CSOs. For example, the Ministry of Justice denied a request for legal personality from LGBTI group Beyond the Rainbow Foundation, claiming that the Minister could only register groups who work on ‘general human rights’ themes. Human rights defenders also face harassment and intimidation, as authorities have used immigration law to deport foreign human rights defenders and imposed travel bans on others when travelling to international conferences.