Gong-gam is proud of its litigation portfolio and its successes in promoting and protecting the rights of women. Gong-gam is proud of its litigation portfolio and its successes in promoting and protecting the rights of women.
In one case, we represented a female military officer who, after having been sexually harassed by a male superior officer, was brought before a military tribunal for insubordination. While the female officer was found guilty by the tribunal, we appealed the case to the Military High Court where we were successful in overturning the insubordination conviction. We are now active in working towards policy changes within the military which would identify and eliminate the harmful effects of sexual harassment and discrimination against women.
A Chinese woman in a domestic violence action
Women from the Philippines who sued their employer for forcing them into prostitution
A Vietnamese woman who fought to regain custody of her children after she unwittingly married a Korean man simply to become a surrogate mother for him and his former wife.
Gong-gam’s efforts to educate activists, private sector lawyers, and the public on the importance of protecting and promoting human rights include events focused on the plight of migrant women. We recently organized and hosted training sessions and conferences for immigration activists on the special needs of migrant woman married to Korean nationals, domestic violence, and sexual harassment in the workplace.
International Marriage Brokers: As local authorities promoted so-called international marriages between Korean men and foreign women to address declining rural populations, the exploitative and discriminatory practices of international marriage brokers came to light. Gong-gam, after raising public awareness of local authorities’ subsidies to marriage brokers, successfully urged the Korean government to introduce legislation in this area, resulting in the enactment of a law in 2008 to regulate the activities of international marriage brokers.
Family Registration System: Recently, the old family registration system in Korea (호주제), in which only men could be the head of a household, was abolished. In its place, a new law concerning registration of family status was enacted to signify a new system of ID registration. However, under this new system, violation of privacy rights became evident with the unwanted release of personal information, such as records showing a previous divorce and remarriage, the existence of children born of a previous marriage, sex change status, adoptions that were intended to be kept secret, etc. Since prejudice and discrimination against divorced or remarried women, as well as single unmarried mothers, are still quite problematic in Korean society, these violations of privacy rights exacerbate their already precarious situation. Within this context, Gong-gam, in seeking to limit the release of personal information and to protect privacy rights, has worked together with women’s groups, other human rights groups and lawmakers, to propose amendments to the law, to seek changes to the system, and to raise public awareness of the issues.
Winning of a lawsuit for compensation against a Marriage Broker on 3rd of Sep.
Winning a lawsuit for compensation against a Marriage Broker
Gonggam, on behalf of an immigrant woman from the Philippines, filed a lawsuit for damages against an international marriage broker located in Gyunggi-Do, and won the case on 30th of Sep. 2008. The agency had hidden the fact that the Korean client had a mental defect, and for that reason the marriage was annulled shortly thereafter. The plaintiff had decided in 2006 to marry the Korean client, who she got to know through the marriage broker in the Philippines, and then migrated to Korea. At the time of the meeting in the Philippines, the agency had depicted the client, a Korean man, as a person of normal intelligence. After 2 weeks of living together in Korea, the plaintiff found out that her husband’s mental age was only about 5~6 years old. The marriage soon began to deteriorate, and the parties consented to a divorce after their 7 months marriage. With the help of an organization for migrant women, the plaintiff decided to file a lawsuit asking for damages against the international marriage broker agency. Gonggam will keep monitoring the damages caused by marriage broker agencies, which seriously violate the rights of women.