National Human Rights Commission of Korea

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Causes were a defective lift and negligence of the institution (10-30-2002)

  • 2002-12-20
  • 1961

The incident was caused by a defective wheelchair lift and the negligence of the institution responsible to maintain that lift (10-30-2002)

 

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) recommended that the mayor of Seoul City and the president of Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation (SMRTC) make a compromise with the complainant.

 

The NHRC (president, Kim Chang-Kuk) recommended that a compromise be made between the complainant, Park, Kyung-Suk (representative of a coalition named ‘Solidarity of the Disabled’) and the respondents, the mayor of Seoul City and the president of Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation.

 

Park, Kyung-Suk filed a complaint to NHRC against the mayor of Seoul City and the president of SMRTC regarding the incident that a handicapped person—who was identified as Yun—fell to his death while attempting to use the lift for the disabled in the Balsan subway station on the number five line.

 

The NHRC pointed out that the president of SMRTC and the mayor of Seoul City are responsible for the incident, since they have been neglecting to supervise and maintain the lifts for the disabled. NHRC claimed that the basic rights of human dignity, happiness and equality of the disabled were violated by several lifts incidents that had recently recurred for the same reasons.

 

The NHRC has recommended a compromise to protect the right to move of the disabled and prevent future violations, and is hoping that this incident will be solved amicably.

 

 There are 1,263 lifts for the disabled in the subway stations nationwide.  All the current lifts in the subway stations of Seoul City are available for hand-operated wheelchairs. Thus, if the disabled use a heavier electronic motor scooter, there is a high possibility that the ramp of the safety lift will break. Although the Seoul City authority and the SMRTC have already recognized this fact well, they have not yet installed a device that would prevent the disabled from falling nor have they taken preventive safety measures.

 

Although the disabled can usually receive help from the staff at the stations, the disabled person sometimes must use the lift without any help –like the victim, Yun.

 

The contents of the compromise that the NHRC recommended to the mayor of Seoul City and the president of the SMRTC are as follows:

 

To install—as soon as possible—devices on the lifts in order to prevent users from falling;

To consider the special characteristics of the disabled and take proper measures for their safety, such as training the station staff to help the disabled to use lifts safely and posting staffs who are exclusively responsible for assisting the disabled.

 

The NHRC has recommended to the mayor of Seoul City to install elevators in every station and to introduce call taxies and buses for the disabled. The NHRC has also called on the president of the SMRTC to admit its guilt and take responsibility to compensate the bereaved family of the victim.

 

The Article 40 of the National Human Rights Commission Act specifies as follows; “With respect to any petition the investigation of which is in progress or completed, the Commission may propose to both parties concerned a remedy necessary for the fair resolution of the case concerning the petition and recommend a compromise.” 

 

The NHRC shall provide the respondent with an opportunity to state his/her opinion before either making a recommendation or taking a measure under the provisions of Article 46.  Therefore, the NHRC is supposed to review the replies from Seoul City and Seoul Metropolitan Transit Cooperation. The NHRC will take follow-up measures if the complainant and respondents deny the recommendation of compromise.

 

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