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Seoul’s basic plan for human rights (2013-2017)

Seoul Metropolitan Government announced its human rights policy blueprint for the next five years (2013-2017) to create a city where everyone is always guaranteed their basic human rights. Seoul began to devise a basic plan for human rights in March 2012, and prepared it after 15 months of consulting with the human rights committee, human rights organizations, and citizens from all walks of life, as well as with other relevant departments in Seoul.

인권

The basic plan for human rights has the following five objectives: improving the human rights of second-class citizens, creating a human rights-oriented urban environment, diffusing a human rights value-oriented culture, laying the groundwork for the human rights system, and constructing the community’s cooperative system. It consists of 17 areas, 25 key tasks, and 73 detailed tasks.

[Policy vision]For Seoul to be a place where everyone is always guaranteed their basic human rights

Five policy objectives and 25 key tasks

Senior citizens
  • Disabled people
  • Women
  • Elderly people
  • Labor
  • Children
  • Immigrants
  • Victims
Create a human rights-oriented urban environment
  • City without barriers
  • A safe city
  • Residential  rights city
  • Human rights city
Diffuse a human rights value-oriented culture
  • Improve human rights administration
  • Boost people’s awareness about human rights
  • Promote the human rights culture
Lay the groundwork for the human rights system
  • Civic engagement
  • Human rights city network
Construct the community’s cooperative system
  • Civic engagement
  • Human rights city network

Shifting the policy for disabled individuals who are in facility-bound protection to being able to leave these facilities

Self-supported residence and jobs: support 20% of disabled individuals who reside in facilities to be able return to society within five years
  • Seoul Metropolitan Government is shifting its policy paradigm disabled individuals who are in facility-bound protection to being able to leave these facilities in order to support them to return to society, instead of allowing them to remain beneficiaries.
  • This policy seeks to overcome the limitations placed on disabled people’s human rights in facilities and to guarantee their right to choose and decide.
  • Thus, over the next five years, Seoul plans to bolster support infrastructures in a bid to support 20% (600 people) of the 3,000 disabled people who are residing in facilities to be return to society where they can support themselves.
  • Specifically, Seoul will bolster its residential support efforts, including experience home and self-support life programs, and it will develop job rehabilitation facilities to help the disabled have jobs where thy can support themselves. The city also plans to provide information on self-support issues by providing things such as colleague consultation, to facility users.

The government and the local government made their first-ever push together to survey women engaging in care services, and to prepare comprehensive measures.

Activating job support centers, social enterprises, and cooperatives to help stabilize employment

Seoul Metropolitan Government is set to survey the status of female caregivers, such as baby sitters, home chore workers, and other types of caregivers whose human rights are not regarded as being properly protected. The city is doing so in a bid to devise comprehensive plans for promoting their human rights.

  • This is the first-ever attempt by both the government and the local government. Currently, the number of women engaging in care services is estimated at 30,000 in Seoul alone, but their wages and working environments are considered to be poor.
  • Seoul plans to form a taskforce for this initiative and to establish and operate a job support center for female caregivers to protect their interests and labor rights.
  • In order to stabilize their employment situations, Seoul will activate care service social enterprises and cooperatives, and will implement welfare programs for helping them to manage their health.

Pushing the policy for immigrants in Seoul by reflecting their labor rights, their culture and welfare requirements, and their voices

Establishing the administrative team for immigrant workers’ human rights, and a welfare and culture center for immigrants

Seoul’s population is made up of 4% immigrants. Believing that a city’s human rights level is equal to that of its immigrant inhabitants, Seoul is implementing a policy for promoting the human rights of alienated immigrants in a bid to realize a high-level human rights city.

  • In connection to this, Seoul will organize a human rights team for immigrants, which will consist of one team head and two members, to protect immigrant workers’ human rights and to promote their rights and interests.
  • In order to solve the residential problems that are associated with immigrant workers’ sudden change of workplaces and the treatment of their diseases, the exclusive administrative team will, starting next year, provide subsidies to the private immigrant shelters to stabilize their operations.
  • After 2017, as a mid- and long-term plan, Seoul will establish welfare and culture centers in areas that are accessible to immigrants.
  • By securing spaces in complex-development city centers, including public facility relocation sites, Seoul is establishing counseling rooms, lecture rooms, interpretation centers, children’s play rooms, libraries, and community lounges.
  • Seoul plans to provide specialized services at these facilities in order to promote the human rights and welfare services of alienated immigrants, such as immigrant workers, Chinese ethnic Koreans, and refugees, in a bid to enhance their quality of life.
  • In order to reflect the voices of immigrants, Seoul holds meetings on a quarterly basis for discussing policies that are related to immigrants, and from 2015, it will operate meetings between the representatives of immigrant groups.
  • A committee of immigrants representing immigrant communities has been formed to discuss community problems and to propose immigrant-related policies.

Pushing a policy to improve the working environment and working conditions of youths with part time jobs and workers that second-class citizens

Researching the working status of workers that second-class citizens in small, poor businesses in order to create improvement measures

Seoul is set to improve the human rights of youths with part time jobs, irregular workers, workers without the benefit of the four mandatory insurances, and non-unionized workers, along with other workers that second-class citizens.

  • Seoul is making a youth human rights pocketbook, which contains easy-to-understand regulations on the working conditions that fall under labor-related laws, such as the Master Act on Labor, Lowest Wage Criteria Act, and the Youth Protection Act. It will be finished by July and will be distributed to youths and business owners as a means to protect the labor rights of young people.
  • Seoul is pushing to educate employers and youths about the protection the labor rights of young people.
  • Seoul plans to turn irregular workers at the Seoul Government offices and the other institutes that are under its control into regular workers within the next five years, and to survey the working status of workers that second-class citizens at small, poor businesses (June – November 2013) in a bid to create improvement measures.
  • Seoul plans to devise and implement a master labor plan that will be designed to guarantee the labor rights that are stipulated in the labor-related laws.
  • Seoul is pushing to conduct surveys on education, working status, and the living wages system with a focus on the improvement of awareness about labor, monitoring working status, and improving the welfare of workers that second-class citizens.

Improving the transportation environment to help those who are physically weak to be able to move about easily and conveniently

Adopting bus information terminals (BITs) for those who are physically weak, and installing safety footholds in chasms in curved subway platforms

To promote the rights of the disabled, the elderly, and children to be able to move about freely, Seoul is improving its bus culture for those who are physically weak, and is implementing projects that are designed to improve pedestrian rights.

  • Seoul will be adopting low-bed buses by 2015 to account for 50% (3,685) of its total number of buses, and will hire an additional 66 drivers for call taxis for the disabled, thereby reducing their wait time.
  • Seoul is developing apps for booking the boarding of low-bed buses by which to inform low-bed bus drivers of the booked boarding by disabled and elderly, and is installing BITs that are equipped with voice recognition and kiosk functions at 400 bus stops.
  • In addition, Seoul will be adding 80 elevators and 116 escalators to subway stations by 2015, and will continue to establish a “one station, one traffic line system” from the subway station entrance to the platform. To ensure the safety of wheelchair users, Seoul first test installed safety footholds in chasms in curved subway platforms, and put them in 128 stations in a bid to improve the transportation environment for those who are physically weak.
  • For the project of improving pedestrian rights, Seoul will implement exclusively pedestrian sections on nine streets in places such as Sejongno and Itaewon before it gradually expands the system. It will also install all-direction crossings on four main streets in places such as Gwanghwamun.

Supporting the healing of human rights victims, improving the human rights of senior citizens, and creating human rights schools

Developing healing programs for victims of public rights enforcement, implementing human rights abuse prevention projects involving senior citizens, and creating human rights schools.

Seoul is pushing its diverse human rights policies, such as supporting the healing of human rights victims, improving the human rights of senior citizens, effectively guaranteeing the residential rights of homeless people and people whose residences have demolished due to development projects, and creating human rights schools.

  • For projects aimed at supporting the healing of human rights victims, Seoul is implementing healing and rehabilitation programs for human rights victims, and has installed and operates shelters for those who are disabled and victims human rights violations as a means to help them lead a normal life.
  • Seoul is surveying the status of victims of public rights enforcement to develop healing programs and a support system.
  • Seoul is implementing projects that are designed to promote the working rights of  senior citizens in this aging era, to enhance opportunities for the elderly to enjoy other cultures, and to prevent the mistreatment of senior citizens.
  • Seoul is implementing policies that are designed to guarantee the residential rights of second-class citizens, such as people whose residences have demolished due to development projects, residents in shanty houses, those who are homeless, etc.
  • Seoul is implementing human rights value-oriented policies in all of its administration, and is pushing for the use of human rights-friendly language.
  • Seoul is implementing a policy to allow anyone to learn about the importance of promoting citizenship rights anytime throughout their lifetime.

In order to effectively implement its basic plan for human rights policy, Seoul is set to devise and implement yearly action plans, to evaluate implementation results, and to publish human rights reports every two years in a bid to faithfully implement its basic plans.