The SSK (Social Science Korea) Human Rights Forum is an inter-university research group engaged in multi-year research projects on human rights from a social science perspective, which is an increasingly popular approach to studying human rights. The project, led by Principle Investigator Dr. Changrok Soh (Professor of International Studies, Korea University), is funded by the National Research Foundation of Korea and participating universities include Korea University, Yonsei University, Sungkyunkwan University, and Stanford University. The project is also co-organized by the International Human Rights Research Center at Korea University.

2010/2011 ~ 2012/2013

In the first three years of research (2010/2011~2012/2013), we seek to study the diffusion of human rights in Korea from the 1970s to the current period by focusing on five exemplary fields: law and legal institutions, mass media, public opinion, education, and social movements. Research also explores to what degree and in what forms human rights have expanded worldwide and we attempt to uncover how these two processes interact and reinforce each other. After empirically documenting the extent to which human rights have penetrated Korea as well as world society, we seek to investigate what kinds of broad economic, social, and political factors have facilitated the diffusion and popularity of human rights.

2013/2014 ~ 2015/2016

In the second stage of research (2013/2014~2015/2016), we will turn our attention to the consequences of human rights diffusion and explore whether this diffusion impacts the practice of human rights on the ground. In addition, we plan to increase the scope of human rights issues in our research including migrants/refugees, North Korean human rights, international development, corporate behavior, human rights public policy, human rights lawyering, etc. Furthermore, in this stage, we will begin to study the impact of Korea’s human rights norms and values on human rights practices in the region and the world at large.

2016/2017 ~ 2018/2019

In the third stage (2016/2017~2018/2019), we plan to investigate how the accumulated data and our published studies can be appropriated for designing plausible public policies on human rights. In this stage, we will establish a research institute that will disseminate accumulated knowledge to the public while developing working relationships with major human rights agencies in Korea and international human rights institutes. This research institute will serve as a global hub connecting researchers, practitioners, and policy makers in the field of human rights worldwide.