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  • Application Deadline for Scholarship: Friday, 9 October 2015, 18:00 (Seoul Time)
  • Application Deadline for Self-funded Participants: 30 October 2015, 18:00 (Seoul Time)
Course Overview Program
(Videos added)
Application Requirements How to Apply
Accommodation Contact Us Lecturers Download Information

Course Overview

The Course on “Human Rights and Asia” intends to allow participants to think about the universality of human rights in particular contexts of Asia and gain a deepened understanding about human rights issues in this region. This two-week intensive course, taught by experts who have extensive experience of working in the fields of human rights, was launched in 2014 and now is waiting for its third year’s participants. It offers both general sessions on the international human rights norms and human rights protection mechanisms, and thematic sessions on contemporary issues and case studies in Asia. “Human Rights and Asia 2016” will provide a unique opportunity to discuss human rights and various contemporary themes such as gender/sexuality, business, health, religion, climate change, sustainable development goals and democratization in the context of Asia. Participants will be involved in a multidimensional learning that includes not only lectures but also presentations, discussions, and visiting the field of human rights advocacy in Korea. Our course ultimately aims at fostering an interdisciplinary study and multidimensional advocacy of human rights in Asia.

Program (Videos added)

* Videos of several lectures are available online as indicated by the links below.
* For a complete list of videos, click here. (Some of them are accessible only on the SNU campus or may be unavailable.)

4 January Monday Morning
Self-introduction of the Participants
Opening Remarks (Professor Inseop Han, Director of the Human Rights Center, School of Law)
Welcome Remarks (Professor Chinsung Chung, Former Director of the HRC, Sociology Department)
Introduction to the Course (Dr. Joo-Young Lee, Course Director)
Welcome Lunch
International Human Rights Norms and Process (Prof. Hae Bong Shin, Law Department, Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo)
5 January Tuesday Morning
Transnational Corporations and Human Rights (Prof. Jiewuh Song, Dept. of Political Science at SNU)
Group Work : Addressing Human Rights Issues in Asia through UN Human Rights Mechanisms
6 January Wednesday Morning
Freedom of Expression and Association and Democracy (Prof. Vitit Muntarbhorn, Law Dept. Chulalornkorn University)
South Korea and the United Nations : A Story of Human Rights Evolution(Prof. Hyo-Je Cho, Dept. of Social Sciences, SungKongHoe University)
7 January Thursday Morning
Gender and Human Rights (Ms. Kamala Chandrakirana, Member of the UN Working Group on the Issue of Discrimination against Women in Law and in Practice)
Application of International Human Rights Law in relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (Vitit Muntarbhorn)
8 January Friday Morning
Religion and Human Rights (Kamala Chandrakirana)
Emerging Regional Human Rights Systems in Asia (Prof. Tae-Ung Baik, William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii)
11 January Monday Morning
Health and Human Rights in the Context of Infectious Diseases (Joo-Young Lee)
Transitional Justice, with Cases from the Asian Countries
UN Human Rights System and the Asian Countries, with Relevant Case Studies (Ms. Signe Poulsen, Head of OHCHR Seoul Office and Ms. Younkyo Ahn, Human Rights Officer at OHCHR)
12 January Tuesday - Visit to Governmental and Non-governmental Human Rights Organizations in Korea
13 January Wednesday Morning
Climate Change and Human Rights (Dr. Stefan Gruber, Hakubi Center for Advanced Research, Kyoto University)
Post-Colonialism, Gender and Human Rights (Prof. Hyunah Yang, Law School at SNU)
Human Rights in Criminal Procedure in Korea after Democratisation (Prof. Kuk Cho, Law School at SNU)
14 January Thursday Morning
Sustainable Development Goals and Human Rights (Mr. Anselmo Seonghoon Lee, Executive Director of Korea Human Rights Foundation)
Team Presentation and General Discussion: Addressing Human Rights Issues in Asia through UN Human Rights Mechanisms
15 January Friday Morning
Research/Activity Plan Presentation by the Participants
11:30-13:00 Sharing Views about the Course Closing Remarks and Award of Certificate (Prof. Inseop Han, Director of the HRC)
  13:00-15:00 Farewell Reception

Application Requirements

The course is designed for postgraduate students, researchers, activists, lawyers, and international and national civil servants from all countries of the world who demonstrate a high level of interest in human rights and Asia. The course is taught in English. It is, therefore, essential that all participants understand and speak English fluently. The number of participants is limited to a maximum of 40 and the participants will be selected in a way to ensure the diversity within participants in terms of professional and academic background, region, and field of interests.

How to Apply

For Those Self-Funded

Deadline for Application: Friday, 30 October 2015, 18:00 (Seoul Time)

Applicants who wish to attend the course should complete the application form and send it with a CV and a scanned copy of the passport, via e-mail, to Dr. Joo-Young Lee at the Seoul National University (SNU) Human Rights Center. One recommendation letter should be sent to us directly by a referee via e-mail. The file name must be “applicant’s name” and so must the title of the e-mail. It is the applicant’s responsibility to make sure that the recommendation letter arrives before the deadline. After careful review of the applications, the SNU Human Rights Center will inform all applicants of the results. Please use the enclosed course application>

• Fees

The course fee which covers tuition, course materials, daily lunch during weekdays, refreshments, welcome lunch, and farewell reception is 300USD for international participants and 300,000KRW for Korean nationals. The course fee does NOT cover accommodation, breakfast, dinner, and meals over the weekend. Once the selection process is finished, the Course Fee Payment Guidelines will be sent to the participants.

For Those Who Seek Financial Support

Deadline for Application: Friday, 9 October 2015, 18:00 (Seoul Time)

A limited number of scholarships are available for participants with financial difficulty to pay for the course. Please, use the enclosed Scholarship Application Form and send it with the completed application form (please use the enclosed Course Application Form), a CV, and a scanned copy of the passport, via e-mail, to Dr. Joo-Young Leeat the SNU Human Rights Center. One recommendation letter should be sent to us directly by a referee via e-mail. The file name must be “applicant’s name” and so must the title of the e-mail. It is the applicant’s responsibility to make sure that the recommendation letter arrives before the deadline. After careful review of the applications, the SNU Human Rights Center will inform all applicants of the results. Please use the enclosed scholarship application>


The SNU Student Dormitory (on-campus) is available for the participants of the course. Rooms will be shared with one other participant. The total accommodation fee for thirteen nights is $250.
- Check-in: Sunday, 3 January 2016, from 14:00
- Check-out: Saturday, 16 January 2016, until 12:00

Contact Us

For more information on the course and application procedure, please contact:
Dr. Joo-Young Lee, Director
Ms. Yookyeong Im, Chief Coordinator
Ms. Young Ji Choi, Coordinator

Human Rights Center, Seoul National University
3rd Floor, Building 153, 1 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82-2-880-2426 E-mail:

​Lecturers (in alphabetical order by surname)

Younkyo AHN is Human Rights Officer at OHCHR Seoul Office. She joined OHCHR in 2003 and supported various UN human rights mechanisms, including the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council and the Human Rights Treaty Bodies (CCPR, CAT, CERD, CRC, CEDAW, CED and petitions). She also acted as focal point for liaison with NGOs, human rights training and the Asia-Pacific region in the team. Prior to that, she worked for other IOs as consultant, trainee and intern (ILO, UNCTAD and International Court of Justice), national and international NGOs in the fields of human rights/development, as well as embassy. She received a DEA in international law from HEI, Geneva.

Tae-Ung BAIK is an Associate Professor of Law at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii at Manoa and currently a member of the UN Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. Professor Baik teaches international human rights law, international criminal law, and Korean law. After graduating from Seoul National University College of Law, he earned his Master’s (LL.M.) and Doctorate (JSD) degrees in International Human Rights Law from Notre Dame Law School in the U.S. He was admitted to the New York State Bar, and worked for Human Rights Watch in New York as a research intern and later as a research consultant, focusing on human rights issues in North and South Korea. He conducted research on human rights issues as a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School in 2002. He also served the South Korean Delegation to the 56th United Nations Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights as a legal advisor. Cambridge University Press published his book, Emerging Regional Human Rights Systems in Asia, in 2012.

Kamala CHANDRAKIRANA is currently a member of the UN Human Rights Council’s working group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and practice. As a prominent feminist human rights activist, she has served in various positions in international and regional human rights bodies such as the UN Social and Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific-UN Women’s Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), International Women's Rights Action Watch, Asia Pacific (IWRAW AP), the Southeast Asian Women’s Caucus on ASEAN, and Musawah, a global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family. In Indonesia, since completing her 6-year term as Chairperson of the National Commission on Violence against Women in 2009, she has been active in various civil society organizations.

Hyo-Je CHO is a professor of sociology at SungKongHoe University, Seoul. He has written extensively on the subjects of human rights and civil society. Among his monographs and co-edited works are Human Rights Odyssey (in Korean; Gyoyangin, 2015), Contemporary South Korean Society (Routledge, 2013), In Search of Human Rights (in Korean; Hanul, 2011), A Grammar of Human Rights (in Korean; Humanitas, 2007), and Human Rights and Civic Activism in Korea (A-Media, 2005). He was closely involved with the establishment of the Human Rights Commission of Korea, served in the Policy Panel for the Ministry of Justice, and is currently member of the Human Rights Committee of Seoul Metropolitan City. He has held visiting fellowship and professorship in Harvard Law School, Free University Berlin and University of Costa Rica. He holds a BSc in politics and international relations from London University, an MSc in comparative social studies from Oxford University, and a PhD in social policy from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Kuk CHO is a professor of law at Seoul National University where he teaches criminal law. In Korean, he has published many monographs on human right, progressive politics, and law such as Political and Moral Limits of Criminal Law (in Korean; Pakyoungsa, 2014) and For the Freedom of Conscience and Thought (in Korean; Chaeksesang, 2007). He also wrote a number of articles based on criminal legal perspectives in regard to human rights. His publication of scholarly articles includes “The Exclusion of Illegally Obtained Confessions, Electronic Communication and Physical Evidences (2014)” and “De-criminalization of the Political Activities of School Teachers (2012).” He had been a member of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea and the Committee of Human Rights Assessment of the Prosecutor’s Office in Korean Ministry of Justice. Also, Professor Cho was active in civil society organizations such as People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy where he served as the Director of Center for Judiciary Watch from 2002 to 2005.

Stefan GRUBER is an associate professor of law at the Hakubi Center for Advanced Research of Kyoto University in Japan. His current research focuses on sustainable development law and policy, international environmental law, impact of climate change, laws of war, and human rights particularly in East and Southeast Asia. He recently had his chapter “Human Displacement and Climate Change in the Asia-Pacific” published in an edited volume by Ben Boer, Environmental Law Dimensions of Human Rights (Oxford University Press, 2015). Professor Gruber was educated at the Universities of Sydney, Frankfurt, Mainz, and at Harvard Law School, and holds degrees in law, philosophy, and political science. He is not only a researcher but also an active legal practitioner and consultant.

Joo-Young LEE is Expert Advisor to the Human Rights Center at the Seoul National University and Director of SNU Human Rights and Asia Course. She received her Ph.D in international human rights law at the University of Essex in the UK. She is currently engaged with research into hate speech and freedom from discrimination, as well as a human rights-based approach to infectious disease responses. Her publications include A Human Rights Framework for Intellectual Property, Innovation, and Access to Medicines (Ashgate, 2015), “Implementation of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights”, co-authored with P Hunt et al., in N Rodley et al. (eds.) Routledge Handbook of International Human Rights Law (2013), “The Human Rights Responsibilities of Pharmaceutical Companies in relation to Access to Medicines”, The Journal of Law, Medicines and Ethics Vol. 40(2) (2012): 220-233, co-authored with P Hunt. The area of her interests includes international human rights law, human rights and development, and economic, social and cultural rights.

Seonghoon Anselmo LEE is Executive Director of the Korea Human Rights Foundation (KHRF) and Director of the Policy Center of the Korea NGO Council for Overseas Development Cooperation (KCOC). He is serving as a member of Human Rights Committee of Seoul Metropolitan City. He has been teaching about global governance, civil society, human rights and development at the Graduate School of NGOs Studies at Kyunghee University and others. Previously, he worked for the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) as Director General in charge of policy and education (2008.4-2010.3). He also served as Executive Director of Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), a Bangkok-based regional human rights NGO (2005-2008.4) after working in Geneva for 8 years (1997-2004) as Secretary General of International Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs (ICMICA)-Pax Romana, global network of Catholic professionals and intellectuals committed to social justice and peace.

Vitit MUNTARBHORN is a Professor of Law at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. He is a graduate of the University of Oxford and the Free University of Brussels. He has helped the United Nations in a variety of capacities, including as UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children and UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea). In 2011 he was Chairperson of the UN Commission of Inquiry on the Ivory Coast. In 2012 he was appointed as one of the Commissioners of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria. He also serves as a member of the Committee of Experts on Conventions and Recommendations (International Labour Organization). He has published widely on international law, human rights and humanitarian law.

Signe POULSEN is Head of OHCHR Seoul Office which was launched this year. Prior to her current position, she was a Human Rights Advisor in OHCHR Papua New Guinea. She started her career at OHCHR in 2005 as a Human Rights Officer in Liberia. She served as Head of Monitoring and Protection Unit of the Human Rights and Transitional Justice Section in UN Mission in Timor-Leste from 2007 to 2012. She also worked for OHCHR Mission in Southern Kyrgyzstan, Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. She worked with international human rights NGOs such as International Commission of Jurists in Nepal (2004-2005), Amnesty International (2001-2004), and Peace Brigades International (2000-2001). She received an MSc in Human Rights from the London School of Economics in the UK.

Hae Bong SHIN is Professor of International Law in the Faculty of Law at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo, Japan. She is currently Secretary-General of the Japanese Association of International Human Rights Law. She received degrees from the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva (DES, 1993) and the University of Tokyo (PhD, 1995). Her research interests are international and domestic implementation of human rights treaties and states parties’ positive obligations for the effective realization of human rights. She is the author of several Japanese books such as States Parties’ Obligations under Human Rights Conventions (1999), Contemporary Development of Human Rights Conventions (2009), and International Human Rights Law: Dynamism of International Standards and Coordination with Domestic Law (2013). Her articles in English include “Racial Discrimination, Hate Speech and Hate Crimes in Japan: Some Outstanding Issues in Light of International Human Rights Law”, in M. Komori et al. (eds.), Contemporary Forms of Racial Discrimination: Reflections of Our Times (2013), "Chapter 14: Japan", in D. Shelton (ed.), International Law and Domestic Legal Systems: Incorporation, Transformation, and Persuasion (2011), and "Compensation for Victims of Wartime Atrocities: Recent Developments in Japan's Case Law", 3 Journal of International Criminal Justice (2005).

Jiewuh SONG is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Seoul National University (SNU). She received a J.D. from Harvard Law School, a Ph.D. in philosophy from Harvard University, and a B.A. in sociology from SNU. Before returning to SNU to teach, Song held postdoctoral positions at the Goethe University Frankfurt’s Justitia Amplificata Center and the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University. Prior to that, she worked for two years as a Clinical Supervisor at the Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic, leading a project on the human rights and environmental impacts of transnational corporate energy development in Myanmar. Song works on issues at the intersection of law, philosophy, and politics, and has particular interests in questions about international human rights law and institutions.

Hyunah YANG is a Professor in the School of Law at Seoul National University (SNU). She teaches sociology of law and feminist jurisprudence. She has been affiliated with the Research Institute of Gender Studies and Legal Research Institute at SNU. She has written extensively on sociology of law with focus on gender and sexuality. In her monographs and articles, she dealt with various key issues regarding women’s rights such as domestic violence, sexual assaults, abortion, modern legal notion of motherhood, and “comfort women” during the Second World War. Professor Yang also worked for the National Human Rights Commission of Korea.



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