Joint NGO Urgent Appeal
Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council
14 JULY 2008
MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society, PSPD-People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, Korea Women’s Association United (KWAU), Korean Progressive Network Jinbonet, NGOs in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the Untied Nations, GONGGAM-Korean Public Interest Lawyers Group, SARANGBANG Group for Human Rights, , MINKAHYUP Human Rights Group
In association with
Busan Human Rights Center, Committee of Sexual Minority of KDLP, CHINGUSAI, Lesbian Counseling Center, Committee to Support Imprisoned Workers, Dasan Human Rights Center, Disability and Human Rights in Action, Human Rights Center for Disability, Human Rights Solidarity for New Society, Korea Research & Consulting Institute on poverty, protesting against poverty and discrimination Solidarity for Human Rights, Migrant Human Rights Solidarity, The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, Ulsan Human Rights Solidarity
Mr. Dong-Hwa LEE / International Coordinator
MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society
5F, Shinjeong B/D, 1555-3, Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea,
Tel : +(82)(2) 522-7284 Fax : + (82)(2) 522-7285 E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
◆ Outline of the Urgent Appeal ◆
(1) Extreme Failure of the Government Policy
During Korea-US negotiations on beef import,
-Although it was an important agenda related with the right to health and the right to eat healthy food,
-The government changed its original stance in just a few hours and completely complied to the US position,
-During the process, the government completely ignored the public opinion,
-There was no trace of transparency whatsoever during the process.
(2) Initial Responses of the People
MBC’s critical report on this matter triggered movements such as,
-Internet became a forum for various opinions
-People started candle-lit assemblies to express resistance
-Festivals initially started by young students spread throughout the whole country.
(3) Initial Response of the Government to the Public Movement
The Government denied its policy failure
- made its irresponsible comments such as “Don’t buy it if you don’t want to it.”
- labeled the public opinion as “rumors”
- stressed that there is a “background” for the public resistance.
-stated that it has no choice but to take harsh actions against “violent demonstrations” when the actual assemblies had been peaceful throughout.
-began a search for the source of the “rumors,” the “background,” and the participants of the “violent demonstrations.”
(4) Continued Civil Resistance and the Government’s Systematic Oppression
The Government has shown no intention to communicate with the public so far, and the angry public continued resisting by having assemblies and marching.
During the process, the Police responded with force, arrested about 1000 people, and injured thousands of people.
(5) Continuous and Systematic Oppression by the Government
Right after the additional negotiation with the U.S. government,
-The President sued some media organizations for the charge of libel
-MBC, which was the start of critical opinions, is now under government investigations
-The Government is increasing its control over internet media by ordering internet portal sites to erase users’ writings that request for less advertisement on some Government-friendly papers and arresting people who wrote critical opinions on Government policies.
-The Government arrested main leaders of the People’s Association for Measures against Mad cow Disease, an organization made of 1700 different NGOs and seizured and searched the office of the People’s Association for Measures against Mad cow Disease.
-The Government blockaded the City Hall Square, where assemblies usually take place, to stop assemblies from happening.
-The Government defined the movement as impure, and made it seem like an ideological movement.
-The President is claiming that candle-lit assemblies are the cause of the current economic crisis, and it is expected that there will be more systematic oppression on the assemblies.
▶ Confirm that there have been violations of the freedom of speech and other basic rights and urge for punishment of people in charge.
▶ Be aware of the seriousness of the situation and express a stance directly and openly
▶ Start a direct involvement such as the Country Visit investigation.