South Korea (ROK) has become a significant participant in discussions related to digital technology in recent times and its active involvement in bilateral and multilateral cyber diplomacy has cemented its position as a vital player. The ROK demonstrates its firm commitment to safeguarding human rights online, not just within its country but also on a global scale by supporting global treaties that promote the mission of the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC).
As part of the country’s “National Digital Strategy” through which it aims to use digital technology to promote important values such as freedom and human rights, it has made significant progress in improving connectivity for its citizens, with a strong focus on strengthening its telecommunications infrastructure. The strategy includes plans for digital skills training for citizens, the development of a legal framework for the digital economy and society, and the use of digital innovation to improve governance.
The ROK is a signatory to several pivotal international human rights conventions, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Its proactive participation in diverse human rights forums and bodies is a testament to its commitment to shedding light on global human rights violations. The ROK’s involvement in the Core Group that championed the groundbreaking United Nations Human Rights Council resolution 41/11, “New and Emerging Digital Technologies and Human Rights,” further underscores its dedication. This resolution was initially adopted during the 41st and 47th Council sessions, with a renewal occurring during the 53rd Council session in 2023.
Being a proud member of the Media Freedom Coalition and a staunch supporter of the Global Pledge on Media Freedom, the ROK is resolute in its mission to foster media freedom and ensure the safety of journalists. Its engagement extends to endorsing the International Partnership on Information and Democracy, active participation in the 2023 Summit for Democracy, and the upcoming privilege of hosting the 2024 Summit for Democracy.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, Mr. Park Jin, emphasizes, “As digital technology rapidly evolves and exerts profound influence on our daily lives, the global community must adapt swiftly to harness its positives and mitigate its risks. The Freedom Online Coalition has stood as a guiding force in aligning international endeavors toward this objective. The Republic of Korea takes immense pride in joining this Coalition to champion Internet freedom and safeguard online human rights.”
The Republic of Korea (ROK) has joined the Coalition, increasing the membership to 38. The ROK pledges to support and advance the shared principles and goals outlined in the FOC Founding Declaration, the Helsinki Declaration, the Ottawa Agenda, and other key documents. As a new member, the ROK will participate in Coalition initiatives, sub-groups, and diplomatic networks, working together with other members to promote democratic values and human rights in the digital world, both at home and abroad.
The Coalition looks forward to collaborating with the ROK to advance Internet freedom and protect human rights, bridging the digital and physical worlds.