PSPD Newsletter, April-May 2012
<Civil and Political Rights related activities>
1. 2012 General Election, The movement of Remembrance, Promise and Judgment will continue
PSPD took the lead in establishing 2012 General Election Voter's Network (launched on 9 February 2012) in which more than 1,000 civil society organizations participated, and organized the campaigns of Judgment, Promise and 'Must Vote' in order to make the 4.11 General Election to be the forum for 'Remembrance, Promise and Judgment'.
Participating organizations selected and announced the 'To be judged' list of 139 candidates for the 19th National Assembly. As a result, number of them have failed to gain the seat; 60 out of 139 candidates (43%), 15 among 55 (27%) who have been selected by more than three organizations, and 3 from 10 'Not to be elected' list (30%).
In addition, the Network has chosen 33 polices through online live policy contest and Internet users’ votes. The chosen policies include Korea-US FTA, four major rivers restoration, removal of discrimination and redundancy against irregular workers, half tuition fee for high education and reform of prosecutor’s office. They were presented to candidates and 77 among who have joined ‘the campaign of promise’ by giving a word for its implementation have been elected.
From now on, PSPD will begin a new movement of voters to raise their voice to urge the 19th National Assembly to resolve livelihood matters of people.
2. President Lee Myung-bak must answer on controlling the media and illegal surveillance
Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) press union disclosed the documents produced by the Public Service Ethics Department under the Prime Minister’s Office which clearly exposed how the media has been controlled and manipulated under the current administration.
Some evidences show the involvement of the Prime Minister’s Office and even the Blue House in the matter of media control and illegal surveillance. There were interventions not only from the office of Social Policy and Civil Affairs in the Blue House but also ㄹfrom the chief of staff and the higher.
In this regards, the ‘Emergency action for Illegal Inspection of Civilians’ where PSPD is a member together with the National Union of Media Workers have submitted the letter of complaint to the Blue House and requested for a meeting.
Moreover, PSPD is working for the civil action urging for the National Assembly to settle down media strikes and hold hearings for the media control and illegal surveillance of people.
3. Solidarity Network for Freedom of Opinion and Expression presented a summary of the “freedom of opinion and expression” under the Lee Myung-bak administration
On 9 April 2012, ‘Solidarity Network for Freedom of Opinion and Expression (Solidarity Network)’ in which PSPD is participating, presented a summary of the situation of ‘freedom of opinion and expression’ under the Lee Myung-bak administration. It investigated and studied laws, regulations and customs relevant to the freedom of opinion and expression while stating why this right has been violated and threatened under this administration. It also evaluated related pledges of each political party that are related to freedom of opinion and expression.
As a result, the Solidarity Network held “Hello, Freedom of Expression” talk show on 21 April 2012 to present policy proposals which has been prepared and researched for a year since June 2011.
<Socio-Economic Rights related Activities>
1. PSPD announced five evil policies which incurred business suspension of saving banks and 26 bureaucrats who should take the responsibilities.
Civil Economy Committee of PSPD has presented five evil finance policies on 9 March 2012, which incurred suspension of 16 savings banks in 2011, and announced the list of 26 government officers who are responsible for these policies.
The listed bureaucrats have defended themselves and people’s attention on this incident was high. However, no one has taken responsibility for policy failure even though 11 out of 26 bureaucrats were still in their position when suspension was ordered in January 2011. Even worse, 10 still remain at financial supervisory authorities.
Government officers who proposed failed policy should step down from policy making lines. Especially when assigning a position for finance bureaucrats, mutual control and independency of each organization must be considered.
2. PSPD called for Hearings for skyrocketed fee of subway line 9 and execute the investigation right for administrative work
Seoul Metro Line No. 9 Corporation, the management of Seoul’s first private city rail subway line No. 9 has announced to raise the fee from 16 June by 500 KRW. This is absolutely an arbitrary decision which Seoul city government does not approve.
The business implementation contract between Seoul city government and the Seoul Metro line No. 9 Corporation was made in 2005 when current President Lee Myung-bak was a mayor of the city. It guarantees 8.9% net profit after tax until the end of the contract. Taxpayers’ money of 71 billion won was paid to the Corporation from 2009 to 2011 according to ‘Minimum Revenue Guarantee’ agreement which covered up the part of loss. Without a doubt, this is preferential contract that secures high revenue of conglomerates and foreign funds.
Together with the Korea Public & Social Service Transportation Workers Union, PSPD held a press conference and discussions in order to publicize this unfair contract. They also urge the National Assembly to investigate the problems of business implementation contract signed by the former mayor Lee Myung-bak in 2005 and take actions to solve fundamental problems such as considering nationalization of subway line 9.
1. PSPD submitted individual complaint to the UN Special Procedure Mandate Holders regarding Human rights violations at Gangjeong, Jeju Island
On 18 April, the Peace and Disarmament Center at PSPD submitted individual complaints of Mr. Kang Dong-gyun (head of Gangjeong village), Dr. Song Kang-ho, Father Moon Jeong-hyun and Mr. Yang Yoon-mo (Movie critics) to the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, the Special Rapporteur on rights to freedom of expression and opinion, and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly.
The individual complaints letters to the UN Human Rights Council are used to communicate information on a violation that is allegedly ongoing or about to occur. The intention of these letters is to ensure that the appropriate State authorities are informed as quickly as possible of the relevant circumstances so that they can intervene to end or prevent violations.
<Activities with Members>
1. Spring picnic with PSPD members
The destination of spring picnic was a quiet and peaceful Buam-dong, Seoul. More than 70 members, their families and friends started to walk from the poet Yoon Dong-Ju’s hill, looked around the Buk-ak Mountain, the Gyeongbok Palace and old Seoul fortress, and stopped at Beaksasil valley to sit and listen to classical guitar plays. Mr. Koh Kyung-il (professor at Sangmyung University, Cartoonist) volunteered to draw caricatures for other member’s children for free.
Let’s share the outing atmosphere with the comment of Lee Hee-ra who joined the picnic.
“It was my first participation in PSPD members’ gathering. Lovely program made me join the picnic. In fact, I was little bit worried about the atmosphere but it turned out to be useful and interesting. The beautiful weather made the picnic more wonderful. I fully enjoined ukulele play, classical guitar performance, caricature, quiz and presents and so one. I could see the efforts of organizers. Thank you very much for a wonderful day. My niece who came along with me also loved it. I look forward to joining the next picnic.
2. Café Tong-In is now open for the public
Café Tong-In which is located at the ground floor of PSPD building used to open only during office hours but now it is available for small meetings of more than 4 persons at a reasonable rate from 1 April 2012. This will give opportunities to meet more members and people. If you need a space for a small gathering on weekday evenings, weekends or holidays, please do not hesitate. Suitable for reading clubs, discussions, birthday parties and conversation with writers. Close to Gyeongbokgung station (Subway line 3). To apply, please contact civil participation team 02-723-4251 firstname.lastname@example.org