Disclaimer: The following is a totally unauthoritative personal translation of an article appeared in <The Hankyoreh> on Dec. 20, 2011, reporting a human rights activist for disabled people who believe that the first step to prevent any more inhumane treatment of disabled people is to let those people to live out of facility and to sustain independent lives by fostering suitable environment. At a circumstance where human rights abuses to disabled people in special facilities are ever increasing and proper supervision and control are still lacking, her approach can be a viable solution I guess. All rights regarding this post stay with the author of the original article or with <The Hankyoreh> and this post will be scrapped immediately at their request. In the post, I tried to match the English translation of names of people / institutions / positions to their authentic ones as much as I can but, inevitably, some of them may be different. Original article of this post (in Korean) can be found in the link at the bottom.
Ms. Kim Jeong-ha (36)
Ms. Kim Jeong-ha who leads ‘out-of-facility movement for disabled people’
An activist at ‘Disability & Human Rights Foot-Sole Activity’
Helps them to lead independent lives through social network
Will raise fund on 21st by hosting a sponsorship concert
“Our mind and prejudice that they deserve to be locked in special facilities since they are poor and disabled should be changed. We need to change our mind that forcing someone to live in a facility is, by itself, a human rights violation.”
Ms. Kim Jeong-ha (36, picture) is an activist who, at ‘Disability & Human Rights Foot-Sole Activity’ (foot-sole activity), helps disabled people who want to leave facilities to find places to live and to sustain independent lives.
She got interested in the issue of disabled people’s human rights since she volunteered for taking care of autistic children at the Human Rights Problem Institute for Disabled People when she graduated from college in 1999 and has been doing ‘out of facility – independent life’ movement which advocates disabled people to live among ordinary people in local society not in special facilities.
Just after its inception in 2005, foot-sole activity performed the first human rights reality survey of inhabitants in 22 conditional report facilities all over the country as a Korea National Human Rights Commission (KNHRC) sponsored research project. Ms. Kim said she felt really terrible and sad since “according to the survey result, even for facilities with better conditions, inhabitants in those facilities were living confined lives without any freedom of choice due to the structural discrepancy of the facilities themselves.”
She felt heavyhearted when she heard a response from a disabled person who had to lie in bed all the time that “I lie facing this wall today and, fed up with it, I lie facing with that wall the next day” at the survey. At last year’s survey, her heart broke down when she heard from a disabled person “tears come down, seeing someone who calls my name in 30 years.” She realized “no matter how improved the facility is, it cannot avoid human rights violation” and set forth the ‘out-of-facility’ movement.
Ms. Kim argues that people’s conception about out-of-facility should be changed drastically. She says “many people ask if those disabled people come out of the facility, where do they go?” and adds “out-of-facility does not mean let’s not provide them with living space; rather, it means let’s provide them with living space where they can live with ordinary people in contact with local society.” She says “even those who work in facilities have prejudice that it is impossible for disabled people to live independently. But, if they are provided with houses, activity supporters, and fixed incomes, they can sustain independent lives too.”
To raise fund, the foot-sole activity will hold a Disabled People’s Human Rights Foot-Sole Activity 2011 Sponsorship Concert at 8PM on 22nd in the Seoul Women’s Plaza. At this concert, singers Kang Hur Dal-lim, Paik Ja, Jang Pil-soon, Lee Han-cheol Band will perform.
The foot-sole activity will publish a source book that relays the voices of disabled people who reject special facilities for them in new year and plan to make the ‘out-of-facility independent life for disabled people’ issue public.
Ms. Kim said “although movie <Dogani> made many enraged, people are satisfied with the fact that Inhwa school is closed now. If we think that disabled people deserve to live in facilities, I guess we should think again.”
- Original article of this post (in Korean) can be found in the following link: [이사람] 장애인=시설생활? 그 생각부터 인권침해