SEOUL–A South Korean court ruled Wednesday in favor of a group of leprosy patients seeking compensation from the government for forced abortions and sterilization, in the latest ruling that sheds light on decades-long abuses. Seoul Central District Court said each of he 135 lepers who filed the suit against the government in 2012 should receive 30 million (US$27,394) to 40 million won.
��This is another landmark ruling that recognizes the government’s responsibility to protect lepers who were one of the most vulnerable minorities in our society,�� said Park Young-lip, the lawyer for the victims.
The latest ruling is the third in favor of lepers seeking redress from the government for abuses including being forced to live on a distant southern island, until the law was removed in 1963. And up until the 1990s, hundreds of lepers underwent forced sterilization before being allowed to marry, while those women who did become pregnant were forced to abort. Leprosy is a contagious bacterial disease which can be cured with a sustained course of antibiotics, but can cause deformations if untreated.