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Rights center for disabled opens

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Published : 2014-02-12 21:59
Updated : 2014-02-12 21:59

Seoul City vowed to toughen punishment against welfare facilities violating human rights of disabled people as part of efforts to better secure their rights, officials said Wednesday.

Once a case of human rights abuse are found at facilities for disabled people, the city will cancel the license of those concerned. Previously, the toughest administrative penalty was the dismissal of the head of a facility. The plan is part of comprehensive measures released by Seoul City to protect disabled people’s human rights.

The city will also introduce a new jury system, which mandates over half of the 10 jury members in such cases to be composed of disabled people. The jury will be involved in deciding punitive administrative measures.

Seoul City will also open a new legal support center on human rights for people with disabilities. The center will be the city’s first public institution to focus mainly on legal assistance to disabled people.

The office, opening Thursday in Gangnam-gu, southern Seoul, will offer a wide range of support including counseling, human rights education and even help with filing lawsuits. Six law experts will work in the office and a group of lawyers will voluntarily support the citizens with disabilities, officials said.

“The government has promised to immediately offer ‘special grants’ to the regions according to the party’s request,”

In July, the city government will also launch a commission for improving disabled people’s human rights and ask it to assess the city’s related policies and measures.

“The city will continue to carry out welfare policies to help disabled people to exercise their basic rights without discrimination,” said Kang Jong-phil, the chief of welfare affairs.

As of the end of 2013, some 400,000 people with disabilities were living in the capital. This represents 16.1 percent of all the disabled people in the nation.

Concerns over disabled people’s human rights have escalated after “Dogani,” a movie based on real events, was released in 2011. The movie exposed a case of teachers who sexually abused disabled students.

By Lee Hyun-jeong (rene@heraldcorp.com)

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