SEOUL, Aug. 24 (Korea Bizwire) – “People First” is a global self-advocacy movement that campaigns for the rights of those with intellectual disabilities. It started in 1974 when Dennis Heath, a participant at a self-advocacy conference in Oregon, said, “I want to be treated like a person first”.
Over the past four decades, the movement has spread through the United States, Canada, the UK, Japan, and 39 other countries around the world, fighting to improve the quality of life for the intellectually disabled, and it has finally arrived in Korea.
A press conference was held at the National Assembly building in Yeouido on Wednesday by the People First Korea Promotion Committee, announcing the launch of the movement.
According to the committee, those with intellectual disabilities, including developmental disorders, have faced constraints in various sectors of society, such as participating in elections and taking advantage of the welfare system.
“Although the law requires distribution of information on welfare support and policies, which has a significant impact on the livelihood of the disabled, in easy-to-understand format, the reality isn’t so,” said the committee.
“With the support of all 17 city and provincial organizations, we announce the launch of People First Korea.”
The committee also urged the government and the national assembly “to actively pay attention to the voices of people with disabilities, and further strive to improve their rights”.
The official inauguration ceremony will be held in October in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, with intellectually disabled individuals from across the country expected to be in attendance.
By Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)