[JURIST] The Supreme Court of South Korea [official website] on Thursday decriminalized extramarital affairs. The 7-2 decision held as unconstitutional [BBC report] a 1953 law that made marital infidelity punishable by jail. South Korea was one of only three Asian countries to criminally ban adultery, and the law was presented to the court on constitutional grounds on four previous occasions before Thursday’s ruling. Critics had considered [Reuters report] the law outdated, but supporters claim the decision will lead to sexual debauchery. After the decision was announced, shares in South Korean contraceptive producers Unidus Corp [corporate website] surged [TIME report] by 15 percent. Approximately 5,500 people have been convicted under the anti-adultery law since 2008, and the court announced that these individuals may have their cases reconsidered.
Many hail the decision as a victory for women’s rights, but discrimination and violence against women remain global issues. A UN report this month stated that young girls have been attacked [JURIST report] in 70 countries for pursuing an education. Also this month UN officials called for an end [JURIST] to all female mutilation. Last month the UN urged El Salvador to pardon women [JURIST report] jailed for seeking abortions due to rape or pregnancy complications. In a criticized decision last month, a UK court upheld a regulation [JURIST report] that requires domestic violence victims to provide specific types of evidence before obtaining legal assistance.