Post by: Josiah Robinson
Handong International Law School (hereinafter HILS) in Pohang, South Korea, beyond preparing students to take the bar and become US-licensed attorneys, is profoundly connected to the movement fighting human rights violations. As a rising 2L, the legal internship here, though only just beginning, has provided me with exposure to a vast spectrum of legal issues. I have the privilege of working with the law faculty on various projects, such as providing support for academic publications concerned with international human rights. For one of these projects, the research is concerned with ensuring the rights of persons with disabilities in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (hereinafter DPRK). HILS, in conjunction with the law faculty, law students, and the social work department, has undergone substantial research in this area following the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (hereinafter CRPD), which has been ratified by North Korea. I am supporting this research by helping prepare the comprehensive work to be published as a book and in an international legal journal by making appropriate edits and updates to achieve the highest level of quality. The hope is that this research will help pave the way to ensuring and protecting the rights of one of the most vulnerable groups. By closely studying the CRPD, subsequent legislation of the DPRK, reports of governmental actions affecting persons with disabilities, and the qualitative data based on interviews with refugees, I’ve been learning an incredible amount about such an important area.
Growing up around family and friends with mental and physical disabilities, this research hits close to home. To reference the Convention itself, there is a “need to promote and protect the human rights of all persons with disabilities, including those who require more intensive support.” For me, the word “need” isn’t adequate. There is an urgency. When it becomes clear that there are nations where some of the most vulnerable groups in the world are not being treated as equals, it’s time to do something.
My vision to come to law school was multifold. One of those reasons that continues to ring true in my head is the desire to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. Agreeing wholeheartedly with the Convention in the goal of acknowledging and respecting the “inherent dignity and worth of [every] human person,” I’m honored to do this work.
This post was written by a Center for Global Justice Intern. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.