The struggle for acquiring mobility-rights of the disabled, the movement for all the social minority
The Solidarity Committee
of the Disabled to Obtain the Mobility Right, (hereinafter SDOMOR)
is one of the representative human rights groups in Korea which
has been struggling for the disabled to obtain the mobility-rights
since 2001. SDOMOR consists of more than sixty civic groups which
are interested in enhancing human rights movement to the more progressive
way. And it has struggled to inform of the rights for the disabled
to move, which had never been issued in Korean society. Although
we had been in trouble with the strong suppression of the Government
authorities, SDOMOR did not yield under the pressure, but rather
it has been struggled for the 4.5 million disabled to be able to
live themselves more autonomously and creatively.
The struggle for acquiring mobility rights of the disabled, that is justice.
What SDOMOR has been asserting for the last two years is that the disabled should be able to use the means of public transportation. To be more specific, SDOMOR has been calling for establishing elevators instead of wheelchair lifts, introducing low floor buses, and demanding government's immediate enactment for enforcing the disabled's mobility-rights. However, the authorities concerned including the Seoul Metropolitan Government only made a small favorable impression, and never tried to work on better counter-plans for the 4.5 million people with disabilities. Although it is the very government that should guarantee the mobility rights for the disabled, they are just repeating very slander excuses such as "We do not have enough budgets", "It is none of our business" and etc.
For last two years, SDOMOR has struggled so exceptionally that it made a kind of sensation. These movements were not just to resist the Government which are not making any alternative plans to guarantee deprived rights of the disabled. It is also to make people aware that their attitude treating the socially weak people including the disabled is wrong, in that the disabled deserve much more than mere sympathy and pitiful eyesights. Furthermore, our action was voluntary struggle for declaring ourselves as political minorities on behalf of lots of other classes who are being treated with discrimination, and to declare ourselves, we had to cope with many difficulties.
We have been unfolding street demonstrations, trying to ride a bus as well as take a subway continuously. Those demonstration attracted public attention by newspapers and broadcasts report because of exceptional traffic jam or bus occupation incidents. However, these movement were not regarded as collective egoism of the disabled groups, but is was supported by lots of citizens even though it was caused them to have trouble in the inconvenient traffic situation. Besides, we could acquire widespread popular support : lots of citizens voluntarily took part in a signature-seeking campaign as well as backed up street demonstration, and organs of public opinion covered our actions and emphasized the necessity of more fundamental reform to improve the environments in which people with disabilities can move freely.
The struggle for acquiring mobility-rights of the disabled will be continued !
While we were trying to occupy buses, railways, and staging a sit-on demonstration in front of the City Hall, a lot of people were taken to the police station and even treated violently. And yet, SDOMOR has been leading the struggle for obtaining mobility-rights ,enduring severe pressure from the outside. It's because we think that if the mobility-rights for the disabled were not guaranteed,, the life conditions for them should be getting much worsened while the absolute life quality of ordinary people is getting higher. Still, many people with disabilities are just staying home because they do not have any equipments to move with or the given condition is not proper for them to go outside. What is worse, some disabled people who tried to move outsides were injured or died owing to the bad condition of public convenient facilities. We, SDOMOR can not just sit with our arms folded. Rather, we will struggle as long as we can until we acquire the rights for the disabled to move freely.
Solidarity of the Disabled to Obtain the Mobility Right