Chen Chun-han (陳俊翰), a man with severe muscular dystrophy who obtained the highest score ever on the civil service examination for lawyers, went directly to the Presidential Office to discuss with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) why he had not been allowed to register for the civil service examination for judicial personnel. Their talk resulted in a subcommittee in the Examination Yuan holding a conference to improve the examination procedures for people with disabilities.
More than a year later, the Examination Yuan sent out letters to all government agencies seeking advice on the feasibility of canceling, abolishing or relaxing physical exam standards. However, after only two meetings to discuss the matter, and because of each department’s insistence on keeping their own standards, all national civil service examinations have still managed to keep their own respective restrictions concerning physical exams for people with disabilities.
People with disabilities demand equal opportunities. Employment opportunities should not be taken away from people with disabilities simply because their physical features or faculties are impaired. Upon Taiwan’s signing of the two covenants — the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights — Article 25 of the latter guarantees that all Taiwanese be protected against unjustifiable limitations and shall have the right and opportunity to participate in government, including the civil service. Since this is a human rights issue, we urge the government not to set any discriminatory restrictions for national examinations against people with disabilities.
Wang Yu-ling is secretary--general of the League of Welfare Organizations for the Disabled.
TRANSLATED BY KYLE JEFFCOAT