Genuine Rights to Persons with Disabilities

Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

The United Nations General Assembly convened a special session in October 1992 with regard to the issue of persons with disabilities and adopted a resolution which calls for all member states to exert efforts to include the persons with disabilities in social life.

At this meeting, December 3 was designated as the “International Day of Persons with Disabilities”. The international society has since endeavored steadily to ensure that all peoples of the world promote understanding of the persons with disabilities, and to protect and elevate their dignity, rights and well-being.

Yet, the dignity and rights of the persons with disabilities are disregarded in many parts of the world, and the gulf between the rich and the poor is getting wider as compared to the normal persons. Discrimination and exclusion find their striking manifestations in the fields of education, health services, employment, and so on.

At the 12th meeting of the State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities held in June 2019, the Secretary-General of the United Nations referred to the misfortunes the persons with disabilities were suffering in the vortex of armed conflicts, highlighting that their simple desire is to live in a society that respects them.

Ensuring the rights of the persons with disabilities and including them in all activities of social life are an essential task that should not be neglected in the efforts for guaranteeing human rights and also a criterion that shows the level of guaranteeing human rights in a given country.

Regarding it as the highest principle of its state activities to give the topmost and absolute priority to the people’s interests and to ensure that all people lead a life of dignity and pride, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has paid great attention to protecting the rights of persons with disabilities since the early days of its founding.

It laid legal foundations for ensuring the rights of persons with disabilities by stipulating the protection of their rights in many laws and regulations including Socialist Labor Law, Education Law, Law on Protection of the Rights of the Child and Law on Protection of the Rights of Women. It established the Central Committee of the Korean Federation for the Protection of the Disabled in 1998 and the National Committee for the Protection of the Disabled in December 2016, so as to coordinate in a unified manner the work for implementing the laws and policies of the state on the protection of persons with disabilities.

Under the universal 12-year compulsory and free education system enforced by the DPRK, curricula have been newly revised since 2015 in a way that children with disabilities could learn at schools of the blind and/or deaf through the tele-education system set up at the universities or colleges at central and local levels, and all children with disabilities are receiving rehabilitation therapies free of charge under the universal free medical care system.

Having subscribed to the importance of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for protecting and promoting the rights of persons with disabilities, the DPRK signed this Convention in July 2013 and ratified it in December 2016.

Under the leadership of Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK who is unfolding the policy of respecting and loving the people, the persons with disabilities in our country are bringing their hopes into full blossom in all spheres of social life without any discrimination, and the emotional voices that “though with disabilities, dreams come true” are reverberating around.

The government of the DPRK will continue to actively contribute to the international efforts for the protection of genuine human rights by increasing exchanges and cooperation with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, other relevant international organizations and the countries of the world.