"A Promise as a Right" (대한민국 난민인정자도 장애인 등록 가능)
A Promise as a Right
November 5, 2019
Attorney at Law, Republic of Korea
Is a refugee entitled to the same disability benefits generally as Korean nationals based on the Refugee Convention Article 24 and the Refugee Act of Korea Articles 30 and 31, without requiring further individual legislation? This was the question the Busan District and High Courts of South Korea faced in Baloch Meer Balach Muhammad Zai v. Busan-Gwangyeogsi Sasang-gucheongjang (“Meer”). In this case, the courts grappled with whether refugees were entitled to disability benefits and how to define that right, making the first major decision on refugee rights in Korea.
The plaintiff in Meer was the son of a Pakistani national who fled from Baluchistan and was recognized as a refugee by the government of Republic of Korea in 2014. After Meer entered Korea to join his father in 2015, he was recognized as a refugee as well. As he suffered from encephalopathy, he was admitted to a public school for disabled children. Owing to the disease, Meer required intermittent assistance by a caregiver to move around. His father applied to the municipal government to register Meer as a “disabled person,” which would, among other benefits, entitle him to a free caregiver to help him attend school and visit hospitals. However, the municipal government denied the application, stating that the Act on Welfare of Persons with Disabilities did not include foreigners with F-2 visas, the visa given to refugees and their families as eligible persons for the registry to get the benefits stipulated in the Refugee Act of Korea. Seeing this as unlawful withholding of benefits to which he was entitled, Meer challenged the decision in court.
For further reading, please follow the link: http://www.reflaw.org/a-promise-as-a-right/