North Korea at the 2012 Summer Paralympics
|North Korea at the
2012 Summer Paralympics
|Competitors||1 in 1 sport|
|Flag bearer||Rim Ju-Song|
|Summer Paralympics appearances|
North Korea obtained provisional membership of the International Paralympic Committee in March 2012, entitling the country to take part in the Games. It reportedly aimed to field athletes in track and field, swimming and table tennis in particular. "Twelve athletes, coaches, and officials from the North Korean Paralympic team" received training in Beijing prior to the Games.
Ultimately, however, it was announced that the country's delegation would consist in a single athlete, Rim Ju-Song, who would compete in the men's freestyle swimming (S6 disability category) and breaststroke (SB5). Rim had "lost his left arm and left leg, and suffered significant injuries to his right leg and foot in an accident on a construction site when he was five years old". The British Embassy in Pyongyang provided assistance, including financial support, to enable him to obtain training and participate in the Games. He received a wildcard invitation to the Paralympics.
While South Korea has been taking part in the Paralympics since 1968, the North long ignored the Games. In the early 21st century, it was reported that persons with disabilities in North Korea (with the exception of veterans) were locked away in camps, and "subjected to harsh and sub-human conditions". Vitit Muntarbhorn, the United Nations' special rapporteur on human rights, reported in 2006 that North Koreans with disabilities were excluded from the country's showcase capital, Pyongyang, and kept in camps where they were categorised by disability. Defectors reported the existence of "collective camps for midgets", whose inmates were forbidden from having children. However the charity Handicap International reports that it has been operating in North Korea since 1999 assisting the Korean Federation for the Protection of Disabled People, and the International Committee of the Red Cross reported in 2006 that it had assisted in setting up a rehabilitation centre for disabled people in Pyongyang.
By 2008, the United Nations reported that the government was "beginning to consider welfare for the disabled". Yahoo news reported in 2012 that a Paralympic cultural centre exists in Pyongyang.
|Rim Ju-Song||50m freestyle S6||47.87||17||Did not advance|
- "Paralympics: North Korea’s Disabled Come in From the Cold", Agence France-Presse, 28 August 2012
- "London 2012 to be biggest Paralympic Games ever", London 2012 official website, 21 May 2012
- "North Korea to join first Paralympics in London", Reuters, 9 May 2012
- "North Korea to make Paralympic debut in London", Agence France-Presse, 9 May 2012
- "Sour inter-Korean relations thwart athletes’ friendship", The Hankyoreh, 9 May 2012
- "Swimmer set to be first North Korean competitor at the Paralympic Games", The Independent, 5 July 2012
- "North Korea locks up disabled in 'subhuman' gulags, says UN", The Daily Telegraph, October 21, 2006
- "UN slams Korean 'disabled camps'", The Age, 22 October 2006
- "North Korea". Handicap International. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- "North Korea: ICRC inaugurates a second physical rehabilitation centre". International Committee of the Red Cross. 24 April 2006. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- "North Korea begins to help disabled", UNHCR, March 5, 2008
- "Taedonggong Cultural Center for the Disabled". Yahoo news. 13 June 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2012.