Ⅱ. Early Rights Claims
Ⅲ. Mobilization of People with Disabilities
Ⅳ. Further Legislative Reforms: Institutional Life and Special Education
Ⅴ. Emerging Legal Mobilization in the 2000s
Ⅵ. Right to Mobility Movement
Ⅶ. Enactment of the Disability Discrimination Act
Ⅷ. Ratifying the UN Treaty
Ⅸ. Enforcement of Disability-Related Laws
Like most other societies, Korean society has long viewed disability as a medical problem or a personal tragedy. People with disabilities were considered objects of medical treatment, charity, and social welfare. Society and its legal system thus treated people with disabilities in paternalistic ways rather than as rights bearers. However, some persons with disabilities and their supporters began to raise their voices to protest such mistreatment and discrimination. They claimed that people with disabilities should be regarded not as objects but as subjects or rights holders. The long process of struggling for equal treatment for persons with disabilities finally resulted in changes in government policies and legislation, including the enactment of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) in 2007. The DDA is not just a new law; it is a comprehensive law that represents a significant paradigm shift in disability rights and associated discourses. The new social and human rights models of disabilities have replaced the charity and medical models. The enactment of the Transportation Convenience Act in 2005 was also an essential step toward creating a more inclusive and integrated society. People with disabilities publicly asserted their right to mobility: They should not have to remain inside homes or institutions. Correspondingly, this article charts how waves of activism and legal reform in Korea transformed societal and governmental perceptions of disability to recognize and protect the rights of persons with disabilities increasingly. Intertwined struggles by disabilities groups, civic organizations, and lawyers raised the public awareness of disability rights. They pushed the National Assembly to enact or amend laws that significantly affected the lives of people with disabilities in South Korea.
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