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PSPD    People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy

  • Civil-Political
  • 2005.04.15
  • 763
  • 첨부 1

An Initiative of Legislation on "Prevention of Terror Act" in Korea



Item 17: Promotion and protection of human rights:

An Initiative of Legislation on "Prevention of Terror Act" in Korea

Delivered by Gi-youn Kim, PSPD/Minbyun

Mr/s. Chairperson,

In the three years in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, we have lived through an increasingly suspicious and insecure world, where dramatic roll-back in human rights and fundamental liberties have become commonplace.

The concern over willful or negligent disregard for human rights in the course of “anti-terrorism” measures has already been critically noted, as found in the expression of regret in the UN Secretary General Kofi Anan’s speech on at the recent “International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism, and Security”, that “many measures which States are currently adopting to counter terrorism infringe on human rights and fundamental freedoms” The recent developments pose a serious threat to the principle that, counter-terrorism measures must be in full compliance with the international human rights laws, repeatedly reiterated by this body (UN Human Rights Commission resolution 2000/30; 2001/37).

In many countries of Asia, where human rights violations under the National Security Law regime have been widely acknowledged, the post-9/11 “anti-terrorism” measures have led to more blatant atrocities, encouraged by the lapse in international scrutiny.

Speaking on behalf of the Minbyun-Lawyers for a Democratic Society and the PSPD-People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, I find the recent remark of the UN Secretary General could not be more appropriate as I draw your attention to the situation in the Republic of Korea.

The first attempt to introduce "anti-terrorism" legislation in Korea was initiated following the September 11 events in 2001, justified in the name of providing security for the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup being hosted in Korea. Since then, a similar bill was introduced on March 15, 2005 by the Grand National Party, the major opposition party in the National Assembly. In all, including the current bill tabled with the National Assembly, there have been four repeated attempts. Each of the past initiatives had been abandoned due to concerns raised by various related ministries, including the Ministry of Justice, and the opposition of the civil society organizations. One of the major cause for opposition focuses on the concern over the extended power of the National Intelligence Agency, which had, for over the last 30 years, existing under various different names, earned for itself an irredeemable notoriety for its innumerable excesses. Furthermore,

The current "Anti-Terrorism Law" bill, proposed under the name of "Prevention of Terrorism Act", unlike similar initiatives in other countries, where they are proposed as temporary measure or aim to bring about partial concentration of intelligence related activities, call for substantial consolidation and concentration of powers and authority of the National Intelligence Agency. Given this, it is natural that the current initiative gives rise to the concern of the Korean civil society, the international community, and the United Nations, which have remained the bastion of human rights and democracy. Furthermore, it contains a clearly unconstitutional provision to mobilize the military troops for the purpose of “peace and order” operations, adding to the extent of possible violation of fundamental rights of the people.

In parallel with the legislative initiative, the government of the Republic of Korea has, on March 15, 2005, established a new "anti-terrorism" directive, amending the Presidential Order No. 47, first proclaimed in 1982. The Presidential Order basically pre-empts the proposed legislation by incorporating the substance of the contentious bill. It mandates the reorganizing the terrorism response system of the government, establishing an "integrated terrorism intelligence coordination center" the under the jurisdiction of the Korean National Intelligence Service. Its terrorism alert is the trigger that convenes a cabinet ministers meeting to launch series of counter-terrorism measures. The Presidential Order’s key problem, as it the proposed bill, lies in that an intelligence agency is empowered to mobilize and coordinate all government organizations in the name of counter-terrorism in the absence of proven or corroborated perception of terrorism dangers.

The PSPD and Minbyun recommend the Commission on Human Rights to request relevant special rapporteurs to pay special attention to the impact to national security legislation, including the counter-terrorism measures, on the full enjoyment of human rights in Asian countries, particularly South Korea.

We also urge the government of Republic of Korea to immediately end the efforts to introduce anti-terrorism legislation and to rescind Presidential Order.

Thank you

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MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society 5/F., Sinjeong Bldg., 1555-3, Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, Korea
Tel: (+82 2) 522 7284 / Fax: (+82 2) 522 7285
Website: http://minbyun.jinbo.net E-mail: m321@chollian.net
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PSPD People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy 3F., Anguk Bldg., 175-3 Anguk-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul 110-240, Korea
Tel.: (+82 2) 723 4250 / Fax.: (+82 2) 723-5055 E-mail : pspdint@pspd.org
Website: http://eng.peoplepower21.org
PSPD


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