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NHRCK Regional Office Opens in Daegu
Date : 2007.07.24 00:00:00 Hits : 2388
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea expands to Southern region of the peninsula to better serve residents in Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) announced the establishment of the Daegu Regional Office in Dongin-dong, Jung-gu, Daegu. The office opened on July 2, 2007 and is the third regional office in the Commission’s network. The Commission has had two additional regional offices in Busan and Gwangju since 2005, and is steadily increasing the accessibility of the Commission throughout the nation.
Now for the first time, residents in Gyeongsangbuk-do and Daegu are able to file complaints with the regional office in person and receive counseling on-site, if needed. The regional office will also provide a more efficient and direct means of communicating with local residents.
As of May 1, 2007, a total of 3,308 complaints from the Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do comprised 13.5% of complaints nationwide. Of these complaints, 1,904 (7.8%) originated from Gyeongsangbuk-do and 1,404 (5.7%) from Daegu. The number of cases approved for investigation has also increased over time, from 42 in 2001, 474 in 2002, 739 in 2003, 743 in 2004 and 765 in 2005. The number decreased slightly after adjustments were made to the complaint handling system in 2006 to 431. Although the Commission always handled cases from these regions to the best of their ability, logistics and geography proved difficult. This region is also of particular interest to the Commission, as it is home to a high volume of leprosy patients suffering from marginalization, which was realized during the Commission’s human rights counseling tour in 2004.
The majority of complaints from Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do concerned human rights violations (2,773, 83.8%), followed by miscellaneous cases (296, 8.9%) and discrimination cases (239, 7.2%).
If these numbers are categorized into ‘type of respondent’ for Daegu, detention facilities under the Ministry of Justice account for the largest portion of total cases (806 cases total). The remaining cases concerned the police (219), prosecution (55), the Daegu Metropolitan Government (28), the Ministry of National Defense (24), mental health facilities (22), the Supreme Court (21) and the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (21).
If these numbers are categorized into ‘type of respondent’ for Gyeongsangbuk-do, detention facilities under the Ministry of Justice similarly accounted for the largest portion of total cases (1,349). The remaining cases concerned the police (162), Gyeongsangbuk-do provincial government (47), prosecution (44), the Ministry of Health and Welfare (26), ordinary companies (26), the Ministry of National Defense (24) and mental health facilities (22).
Numerous major recommendations were made by the Commission and accepted by respondents in both Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do, including human rights violations (violation of rights in the public sector). Among these human rights violation complaints include a complaint from the Prosecutor-General, who filed a case against the president of Angang Joongang Hospital for unethical procedures in admission and release of patients; a recommendation to the Minister of Health and Welfare to establish a legal rationale for the installation of CCTV (closed-circuit television) units in mental hospitals, which infringes on patients’ right to personal freedom; a recommendation to the mayor of Daegu to renovate the Ayang Sky Bridge for user security and accessibility; a recommendation to defer the execution of an anorexic inmate at the Cheongsong Detention Center; a recommendation for the Cheongsong Detention Center to provide human rights education to curtail unnecessary prohibitions, such as forbidding inmates to read newspapers; and a recommendation to the chief of the Gunwi Police Station to reprimand an officer’s unwarranted disclosure of the criminal records of several individuals. All of these major recommendations for the Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do regions were accepted by the respective respondents.
Recommendations that were accepted concerning discrimination (violation of rights within the private sector) include a recommendation to the Gyeongsangbuk-do education superintendent to improve the Sanghee School bus transportation system for students with disabilities—a specialized school for students with disabilities—and a recommendation to the major of Gimcheon to revise the taxi-driver licensing system to allow drivers of other vehicles to participate in the privately-owned taxi business.
In all of the aforementioned cases, the respondents accepted the recommendations from the Commission and addressed discriminatory behavior accordingly. Some of these resolutions are monetary and some are through public discourse. One case of employment discrimination for unpaid severance at Sungju Mioddle School in Gyeongsangbuk-do was resolved through the Commission’s conciliation. Cases of discrimination against university students with disabilities in dormitory facilities were also settled by the Commission’s conciliation. One particular case with Daegu University resulted in a once a week counseling system and installation of a dormitory dean. Likewise, an elevator and accessibility passage were added to the Yeongju Middle School when this same issue arose, which was funded in part by the regional Office of Education.
In accordance with the National Human Rights Commission of Korea Act, and other applicable regulations, the Daegu Regional Office will begin handling cases, conduct counseling, and carry out investigations and remedial actions regarding human rights violations and discriminatory acts. In addition, the Regional Office will provide support for the Commission’s investigation whenever necessary, publicize as appropriate for the region and conduct regionally-targeted human rights education training. As per procedures in the Commission, five employees and one director were hired to maintain the office.
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea was established in 2001 to promote human rights education and defend those who have experienced discrimination, or have had a right violated, in Korea. The Commission offers counseling, full investigation and protection for citizens, along with educational initiatives for organizations.

 

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