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Experts commend the South Korea on measures taken to implement the CRPD

wheelchair user in the street

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities today concluded its consideration of the combined second and third periodic report of the Republic of Korea on its implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 

Committee Experts commended the Republic of Korea on measures taken to implement the Convention, while asking questions on persons with disabilities’ right to privacy and supportive decision-making processes regarding guardianship.

Gerel Dondovdorj, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur, commended the efforts of the Republic of Korea and acknowledged the measures taken to implement the Convention, particularly the initiation of the procedure of the ratification of the Optional Protocol.  She also welcomed the amendment of the act on welfare of persons with disabilities; the revision of the disability grading system, though it still needed to be harmonised with the Convention; and the adoption of the fifth comprehensive policy plan for persons with disabilities.

Several Experts asked about measures to guarantee the autonomy and right to privacy of persons with disabilities.  Gertrude Fefoame, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur, said that over 1,000 GPS systems had been distributed to persons with disabilities.  What plans did the State party have to put a stop to this practice?

A Committee Expert said that around 16,000 people were under guardianship.  What steps had been taken to replace substitute decision-making with supportive decision-making procedures?

Min Seob Yeom, Director General, Bureau of Policy for Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Health and Welfare of the Republic of Korea and head of the delegation, said that the Republic of Korea endeavoured strenuously to ensure the rights of persons with disabilities and build a user-oriented support system.  This was reflected in the expansion of the budget for the disability sector by about 3.2 times over eight years.

The Director General said that location trackers were used to ensure that children with disabilities did not go missing.

Mr. Yeom said that guardianship was not based on substitutive but supportive decision-making.  The delegation added that guardianship could be terminated by family courts when requested by the person under guardianship.  Courts managed and supervised the affairs of guardians, and required them to submit reports on their activities regularly.

In concluding remarks, Mr. Yeom said that over the last 13 years, the Republic of Korea had exerted various efforts to improve the rights of persons with disabilities.  Many achievements had been made, but there was still more to be done.  The Committee’s recommendations would help steer the Government in a better direction.  The Republic of Korea would continue to engage with the Committee and civil society to uphold the rights of persons with disabilities.

In her concluding remarks, Ms. Fefoame commended the State party for its determination in implementing the Convention.  However, she said that the State party needed to implement a deinstitutionalisation plan; put in place an inclusive education policy; strengthen the participation of persons with disabilities in policy development and monitoring; and strengthen the capacity of the National Human Rights Commission.

The delegation of the Republic of Korea consisted of representatives of the Ministry of Health and Welfare; Ministry of Justice; Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport; Seoul Administrative Court; Incheon District Court; Ministry of Education; Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; Ministry of Employment and Labour; National Assembly; and the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The Committee will issue its concluding observations on the report of the Republic of Korea at the end of its twenty-seventh session, which concludes on 9 September.  For summaries of the public meetings of the Committee, go to https://www.ungeneva.org

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