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South Korea – Disability

South Korea is a country located in East Asia, known for its economic growth and technological advancement. However, like most countries, there are still challenges and issues faced by people with disabilities. In this article, we will explore the common attitudes towards disability in South Korea, discrimination and legislation issues, as well as public transport and building accessibility for people with disabilities.

Common Attitudes to Disability in South Korea

In South Korea, there is still a common belief that people with disabilities are unable to contribute to society in a meaningful way. There is a stigma that people with disabilities are a burden to society and their families. This attitude can lead to discrimination and exclusion of people with disabilities from education, employment, and social activities.

However, there has been a recent shift towards more positive attitudes towards people with disabilities. The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, showcased athletes with disabilities and raised awareness about their abilities and achievements. There have also been public campaigns promoting inclusion and accessibility, such as the “Happy Alliance” campaign, which aims to create a society where everyone can be happy, regardless of their abilities.

Discrimination and Legislation Issues in South Korea

Despite the positive changes in attitudes, people with disabilities in South Korea still face discrimination in various areas of life, including education, employment, and public accommodations. One of the biggest challenges for people with disabilities is the lack of accessibility in public spaces and transportation.

In terms of legislation, South Korea has laws in place to protect the rights of people with disabilities. The Act on the Welfare of Persons with Disabilities was first introduced in 1981 and has been amended several times to increase the rights and protections for people with disabilities. The law requires public institutions and businesses to provide accessibility accommodations, such as ramps and accessible restrooms, and employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities.

Public Transport and Building Access for People with Disabilities

Public transportation in South Korea is generally well-developed and efficient, but it can be challenging for people with disabilities due to the lack of accessibility. While buses and subway stations are equipped with elevators and ramps, many older buildings and private establishments do not have accessibility accommodations. The lack of accessibility can make it difficult for people with disabilities to access public spaces, such as restaurants, shops, and museums.


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However, there are efforts to improve accessibility in public transportation and buildings. The government has set a goal to make all public transportation and facilities 100% accessible by 2025. The government has also launched initiatives, such as the “Barrier-Free City” project, to make public spaces more accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities.

Lobbying and Advocacy Groups for People with Disabilities

There are several advocacy groups in South Korea working to promote the rights of people with disabilities and improve their access to services and resources. Here are a few notable organizations:

  • Korean Society for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities (KSRPD): KSRPD is a non-profit organization that aims to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. They provide rehabilitation services, conduct research, and advocate for disability rights.

  • Korean Association of the Physically Disabled (KAPD): KAPD is a non-governmental organization that works to empower people with physical disabilities. They offer various services such as counseling, job training, and recreational activities.

  • National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK): NHRCK is a government agency responsible for protecting and promoting human rights in South Korea. They have a specific department dedicated to protecting the rights of people with disabilities.

  • Disability Rights Center of Korea (DRC): DRC is an advocacy group that aims to promote disability rights and inclusion in South Korea. They provide legal aid, conduct research, and engage in policy advocacy.

These organizations can be contacted through their respective websites or through the NHRCK.


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