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Disabled residential facility reported to prosecution for rampant rights violations

All News 16:09 September 02, 2022

SEOUL, Sept. 2 (Yonhap) -- A residential facility for the disabled has been reported by the state human rights watchdog to the prosecution for alleged abuses of its residents and other illegalities, officials said Friday.

The unnamed disabled residential facility in Gangwon Province, east of Seoul, is accused of having committed various human rights abuses of its residents, including forced imprisonment and discrimination, according to the National Human Rights Commission.

In one instance, the commission said, facility residents were tied to the toilet bowls and left unattended for a long time just because they were not potty trained yet.

The facility's residents were also compelled to perform forced labor, such as cleaning of toilets and the food warehouse, and preparing meals, and to attend regular church services and offer gifts of money.

The disabled facility is known to be run by a pastor of a next-door church, and some facility employees reportedly tipped the rights watchdog off on the rampant human rights abuses by the pastor and a facility cook, commission officials said.

The commission asked the Supreme Prosecutors Office to launch an investigation into the disabled residential facility on charges of rights abuses, imprisonment, and violations of the Act on the Prohibition of Discrimination of Disabled Persons and the Act on Welfare of Persons with Disabilities.

Regarding the facility residents being tied to toilet bowls, the facility claimed it was an unavoidable measure to maintain the cleanliness of the toilets due to the shortage of operating manpower.

It also argued the imposition of various kinds of forced labor was also part of their self-reliance training and the attendance at religious services was also voluntarily decided.

But the rights watchdog said the facility's explanations or claims were not true, noting some facility residents were forcibly brought into the toilet and left sitting on the toilet bowls for a long time.

This file photo shows the National Human Rights Commission. (Yonhap)

This file photo shows the National Human Rights Commission. (Yonhap)


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