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☞ Issue 170
글씨크기 크게 글씨크기 작게 기사 메일전송 기사 출력
Urgent Letter to Friends, Human Rights Defenders and Peace Activities

Jong-Dae Lim (2010/06/24 20:59)  

Dear Friends, Human Rights Defenders and Peace Activities

People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), a watchdog NGO in South Korea established in 1994, urgently appeals to the international community for support and solidarity. PSPD has been oppressed and threatened by the Lee Myung-bak government. PSPD sent a report ‘PSPD's Stance on the Final Investigation Report on the Cheonan’ to the members of the UN Security Council on June 11, 2010. The report raised questions, which still need answers and clarifications, on the government investigation result and called upon the UN Security Council to make a decision heavily prioritizing peace on the Korean Peninsula.

As all of you are well aware, NGOs’ consultation and communication with the UN is a right stated in the UN Charter, and NGOs like everyone are granted to exert fundamental rights such as the freedom of opinion and expression. However, the Lee Myung-bak government is accusing PSPD as unpatriotic and PSPD’s report as ‘against national interest and security.’ It is also arguing that PSPD’s letter to the UN Security Council is benefiting the enemy, North Korea, which denies its involvement in the Cheonan incident. In addition, it fallaciously asserts that it is out of the ordinary that an NGO holds a position
contrary to its government.

Right after official accusations from the government, on June 16, 2010, the Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation on whether PSPD violated the National Security Law, of which the UN recommended its abolition and whether sending a report to the UN Security Council is defamation under the Korean criminal law. Accordingly, the Prosecutor’s Office plans interrogations of PSPD staff members.

The Blue House (the presidential house of the ROK), the Prime Minister, and the Grand National Party’s(the current ruling party of the ROK) floor leader, among others, officially denounced PSPD as below. On June 15, 2010, the Grand National Party, Spokesperson, Hae Jin Cho stated that “PSPD’s behavior is a typical enemy-benefiting behavior… Harsh constitutional measures must be imposed on those who try to sell/betray the country while hiding behind the freedom and democracy.”

On June 15, 2010, the Grand National Party’s floor leader, Moo Sung Kim stated that “I think that (such behavior) is enemy-benefiting behavior that threatens the identity of the Republic of Korea and injures our national security… Even though South Korea is a democratic country guaranteeing freedom of 2 expression, I cannot tolerate such irresponsible, pro-DPRK conduct benefiting the enemy… PSPD should voluntarily dissolve… (PSPD) must pay price.”

On June 14, 2010, the spokesperson of the Blue House stated that “this is a shameful and worrisome situation… I really want to ask PSPD their underlying purpose in engaging in such behavior.” On June 14, 2010, the Prime Minister Un-Chan Chung stated that “I wonder of what nationality they(PSPD) are. Such actions are against national interest. It (PSPD’s actions) dishonored and shamed our country.”

On June 15, 2010, the 2nd Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Chun, Yung-woo replied for the question “Are there any cases that a NGO sends a contrast position paper against the government on the security issue”, “ I have never heard of that there are such NGOs, and document sent by a NGO cannot be a UNSC document.”

PSPD believes that diplomacy and security policy should be under the citizenry’s watch and democratic control. National Security and diplomatic policy should not be monopolized by military and diplomatic authorities. As a member of the international society, PSPD will continuously make every effort to advance the universal goals of democracy and peace through its activities as a political watchdog.

Sincerely Yours
Jong-Dae Lim
Representative People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy

Sung-Hee Choi
from Korea

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