Back To Top

Disabled most common victims of discrimination

More than half of the complaints about discrimination in South Korea were filed by disabled people, the nation’s human rights watchdog said Wednesday.

According to the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, a total of 2,179 petitions were sent to the state-run advocacy group last year. More than half -- nearly 52 percent of the complaints -- were about discrimination against disabled people at schools and work.

The second-biggest number of complaints was related to sexual harassment at 9.3 percent, followed by discrimination against social status at 5.2 percent, age at 4.5 percent and gender at 3 percent. Appearance, education status and country of birth were sources of discrimination at 1.1 percent each.

The statistics come after a series of discriminatory incidents took place against the disabled. 


Last year, the NHRC issued recommendations for a high school that expelled a man with mental disability due to requests by parents of his fellow students. The school allegedly said it expelled the student for creating a ruckus in the classroom and posing a threat to the learning environment.

The human rights watchdog accused the school of violating the Disability Discrimination Act, saying that it forced the disabled student to transfer to another school against his will.

The Disability Discrimination Act came into force in 2007 to defend the rights of the disabled and curb discrimination against them. The bill prohibits discrimination against the disabled without a justifiable reason.

Among the 2,179 cases, the NHRC imposed recommendations on 35 cases, with 1,922 cases having been dismissed or rejected. The agency is looking into 164 cases.

As of 2014, South Korea had a total of 2.49 million people had mental and physical disabilities, based on those registered with the municipalities. Among them, 58.1 percent were men and 41.9 percent women.

By Ock Hyun-ju (