Report to the UN HRC on oppression of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in the ROK
- UN Advocacy
- 2009.09.09 (16:47:35)
On 28 August 2009, the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy(PSPD) submitted a written statement concerning the Lee Myung-bak government’s oppression of the right to freedom of opinion and expression to the 12th session of the UN Human Rights Council which will be held in Geneva from 14 September to 2 October 2009.
The PSPD also submitted Case Fact Sheets today (2 September) on five significant human rights violation incidents by the Lee Myung-bak government to the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders.
First of all, the PSPD listed out violation incidents of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in its written statement handed in to the UN Human Rights Council arguing that the listed was not in accordance with the constitution of the Republic of Korea and human rights standard of international society.
The following lists the violations.
▷ The Ministry of Public Administration and Security indicted and punished public servants and teachers who endorsed a public statement and participated in a demonstration against the retreat of democracy.
▷ The Government also indicted producers and staffs of a public TV program ‘PD’s Notebook’. Journalists from ‘Voice of People (VOP), an Internet News Organization, were arrested by the police while reporting the violent and excessive suppression of the police used against the strikers of Ssangyong Motors. These two incidents severely infringed the right to freedom of speech and press of the journalists.
▷ The police also arrested human rights defenders taking part in a press conference urging the government to ensure the citizens’ right to use public squares for assemblies in which citizens can express their opinions.
Furthermore, it was insisted that downsizing the National Human Rights Commission of the Republic of Korea weakens its mandate and functions to protect and promote human rights.
Therefore, the PSPD requested a Special Rapporteur to pay attention to human rights violation situations in the Republic of Korea and to conduct a country-visit.
The PSPD submitted case fact sheets on five significant cases of human rights infringed by the Lee Myung-bak government in Korea, not only to Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression but also to Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders.
Five cases are as follows.
▷ The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology revoked or dismissed chairperson Jeong Jin-hoo and 21 executives of the Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union (KTU) who led the second public statement.
▷ The Ministry of Public Administration and Security indicted chairperson Jung Heon-jae and 16 unionists of the Korean Democracy Government Employees' Union (KDGEU) and required its district office to place disciplinary punishments for participating in assemblies urging the government to reinstate democracy and liberty.
▷ The police arrested Park Won-seok, deputy secretary general of the PSPD and 10 human rights defenders attending at a press conference which was demanding the abolishment of ‘The Use and Administration of Gwanghwamun Square ordinance’ and guarantee of the citizens’ right to use the Square.
▷ The Prosecutors, once more indicted professor Oh Se-cheol, the former chairman of the Socialist Workers League of Korea (SWL) and its executives for violating the National Security Law in spite of the fact that arrest warrants against them were already rejected twice last year.
▷ Journalists were arrested by the police for ‘unlawful entry of an edifice’ in the middle of covering Ssangyong Motors’ sit-in strike site.
The PSPD pointed out that these five incidents violate the right to freedom of expression stated in the article 19 of the UN International Covenant on the Civic and Political Rights (ICCPR) which the ROK is a signatory to. In addition, they infringe the right to freedom of speech and press, and of assembly and association guaranteed in the article 21 of the Constitution of the ROK.
The PSPD has submitted a written statement and the case fact sheets to the UN Human rights council. The purpose is to notify the UN Human Rights Council human rights violation incidents of the right to freedom of ideas, opinion and expression infringed by the police force and the Lee Myung-bak government in the ROK. The statements show that the infringements have increased since President Lee Myung-bak’s inauguration in 2008. The PSPD will keep reporting human rights situation of Korea to the UN Human rights council and the international society in order to reinstate human rights and democracy in the ROK.