Visually impaired lawmaker's passionate speech unites National AssemblyBy Jung Min-kyung
Published : June 15, 2023 - 18:15
South Korea’s National Assembly erupted in an applause in a rare, unifying moment on Wednesday, as a visually impaired lawmaker, accompanied by her guide dog, gave a passionate speech on disability rights.
Rep. Kim Yea-ji of the ruling People Power Party took the podium on the last day of the government interpellation session, with Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon in attendance to answer her questions.
She said crimes against the disabled are not properly dealt with in Korea’s justice system, citing court data that 42 percent of abuse and violence cases against disabled victims from the beginning of 2017 to end-2019 ended up in suspended sentences.
She called for more systematic support for the victims with mental and developmental disabilities to bring their perpetrators to justice.
Drawing a metaphor from raising koi fish, she ended her speech with an impassioned plea for change.
"The size of a koi fish depends on its environment by nature -- it never grows beyond 10 centimeters in a small fishbowl, but is able to grow to 30 cm in an aquarium and over 1 meter in a river," Kim said, eliciting thunderous applause from all parties present at the plenary session.
"There are still various fishbowls and aquariums that prevent social minorities and the underprivileged from opportunities, possibilities and growth. We hope the government will become the river that will allow the people to express their talents among fair opportunities."
S. Korea, US, Japan stress cooperation over N. Korea's provocations
Govt. raises health care crisis level to 'serious'
Gender Ministry on course for disbandment