GongGam Human Rights Law Foundation

Seoul, South Korea
Joined August 2019

GongGam is devoted to defending the human rights of the under-represented in our society. We work in and out of courtroom to bring about positive changes by utilizing legal means and public education.

Presence in: South Korea
Focus: Education, Environmental Justice, Family, Gender-based violence, Governance, Accountability & Transparency, Health, Housing Rights & Informal Settlements, Labor & Employment, Livelihoods, Other, Right to Information, Women's Rights

GongGam, which means “empathy” in English, is the first non-profit full-time public interest lawyers’ organization in Korea.  In January 2004, it started out as a team within Beautiful Foundation with just four lawyers.  Over the years, GongGam’s staff has grown to 12 full-time lawyers and 3 supporting staffs, along with 12 board members led by former Supreme Court Justice, Soo-Ahn Jeon.

GongGam’s areas of practice encompass a wide range of human rights issues, including women, persons with disabilities, migrants and refugees, poverty and welfare, precarious labor, LGBTIQA, business and human rights, children, disaster and human rights, transnational human rights, public interest law education and promotion of pro bono participation.

GongGam works by creating a productive and effective network between NGOs, lawyers and academics to promote legislative reforms, to carry out strategic litigation and comparative legal and field research, public awareness campaign, legal empowerment education and promotion of pro bono activities.

GongGam takes pride in being a non-profit organization funded mainly through grass-root donations from more than 1,500 individual donors who share our cause and vision.

GongGam’s work is not limited within its national borders but reaches far beyond, where the need for transnational cooperation is called for.  Believing that discrimination and violation of human rights can have ramifications beyond our national borders, GongGam is active in monitoring the actions of our government and multinational enterprises to ensure that they operate in a socially responsible manner.  Every year, we conduct research on corporate social responsibility obligations in countries like China, Philippines and Bangladesh, where serious labor right’s violations and environmental issues have been raised.  GongGam has played a leading role in organizing a strong network of Asian human rights NGOs, such as the Asia-Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN).