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Moon nominates new human rights watchdog chief

President Moon Jae-in (Cheong Wa Dae)
President Moon Jae-in (Cheong Wa Dae)
President Moon Jae-in on Thursday nominated Song Doo-hwan, a former Constitutional Court justice, as the new chief of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, Cheong Wa Dae said.

Song, 70, a senior attorney at law firm Hankyul, has devoted himself to human rights issues throughout his career. He served in leadership positions at the Korea Bar Association and Minbyun, an association of lawyers fighting for democracy movements and human rights.

Back in 2003, he also led a special counsel team to investigate an alleged money-for-summit deal between South and North Korea in 2000.

“Song has played a leading role in expanding people’s basic rights like political freedom and protecting the rights of socially vulnerable groups,” Moon’s senior secretary for public communication, Park Soo-hyun, told a briefing.

“Equipped with a firm belief in human rights protection and an inclusive and reasonable leadership, he is expected to contribute to elevating the nation’s status as an advanced country on human rights issues.”

The application for the senior position was open to the public and a separate review process was conducted for the final nomination, Park added.

Moon also nominated Koh Seung-beom, a former financial regulator, as the new chief of the Financial Services Commission. The official appointment of Song and Koh, both ministerial level ranking officials, will be made after confirmation hearings at the National Assembly in the coming weeks.

A replacement for the chairman of the Board of Audit and Inspection was not included in Thursday’s nomination list. The senior post remains vacant since the agency’s former chief Choe Jae-hyeong resigned early July for his presidential bid.

Another six vice-ministerial level positions were also replaced.

Ko Kyu-chang, head of the Interior Ministry’s policy planning office, was promoted to vice minister, and Lee Seung-woo, head of the ministry’s disaster management cooperation policy bureau, was promoted to vice minister for disaster and safety management.

Park Ki-young, head of the Industry Ministry’s planning and coordination office, was promoted to second vice minister, and Yeo Han-koo, Cheong Wa Dae secretary for new southern and northern policies, was tapped as the new trade minister.

Park Moo-ik, the Transport Ministry’s transportation logistics office chief, was named as the head of the National Agency for Administrative City Construction, and Hong Hyun-ik, the head of security and strategy studies at the Sejong Institute, was tapped as the chancellor of the Korea National Diplomatic Academy.

By Lee Ji-yoon (