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South Korean Catholics call for an end to death penalty

Illustrative Photo

South Korean church officials have joined other religious and civic groups in calling for the parliament to abolish the death penalty, which is pending in the state legislature.

The Catholic Peace Broadcasting Corporation (CPBC) reported on January 2 that religious and civic groups had called on the government to make South Korea an abolitionist state.

South Korea announced a moratorium on executions on December 30, 1997, the 25th anniversary of the last execution of 23 convicts. 

The group stated, “Nine bills are pending in the Legislation and Judiciary Committee of the National Assembly”.

It was introduced to the National Assembly on October 7, 2021, for the ninth time since it was first proposed on December 7, 1999, and it received only 30 votes out of 300.

The chairman of the Social Correctional Pastoral Commission of Seoul Archdiocese, Father Hyundai Il, was accompanied by representatives of the Catholic Human Rights Commission, Democratic Party lawmakers Lee Sang-min and Justice Party lawmakers Kang Eun-mee, as well as representatives from Amnesty International Korea, the Buddhist Human Rights Commission, and the Human Rights Center of the National Council of Churches in Korea.

Furthermore, they hoped that a case in the country's top court to determine the constitutionality of the death penalty would result in its repeal.

According to the press release, it is a well-known reality that the death penalty cannot deter the most terrible crimes, and the state is responsible for breaking the cycle of violence.

The top court had received an appeal to end the death sentence from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea, Amnesty International, the World Committee Against the Death Penalty, and representatives of seven religious organizations in Korea.

The group hoped that by ending the practice within its borders, South Korea would be able to "lead the elimination of the death sentence across Asia."

Although South Korea has had an abolitionist stance for more than 20 years, the death penalty is still legally permitted in the country. - By Anbu Selvam


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.