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Human rights watchdog examines care facilities for signs of abuse

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea announced Monday that it will release human rights abuse data from local care facilities that serve people with physical and mental disabilities.


In a joint national survey conducted by the watchdog and three activist groups, some 292 care facilities users nationwide have been interviewed since last month on whether they have experienced abuse.

“The in-depth research is part of our effort to look into possible violations of human rights among physically and mentally disabled citizens who remain more vulnerable to such incidents, especially for those who have been left to care facilities on their own,” a watchdog official told The Korea Herald.

The result will be released in December, as analysis of the results is still ongoing, the official said. The watchdog will then issue recommendations accordingly to improve living and medical conditions for the facilities’ users.

The survey came after the Moon administration promised in its five-year road map unveiled last month to build a better environment for disabled people where they can live independently with state support outside of care facilities.

In an aim to abolish the government’s disability assessment system, which determines access to basic pensions for disabled people as well as services such as home help, activist groups have long protested for greater state care.

The lack of access to basic pensions is one of the causes that block disabled people who want to lead an independent life, says Cho Hyun-soo, policy director of nonprofit activist group Solidarity Against Disability Discrimination.

“State support for disability care services is far below the average for Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member countries in terms of the volume of its budget,” Cho said.

By Bak Se-hwan (