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PSPD    People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy

  • Civil-Political
  • 2010.06.21
  • 2718
  • 첨부 1


『Urgent Letter to Friends, Human Rights Defenders and Peace Activities』


Dear Friends, Human Rights Defenders and Peace Activists

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 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


▣ PSPD’s Stance on the Disputes over its Letter on the Cheonan Incident to the UN Security Council

STOP Oppression & Prosecutors’ Investigation on PSPD
STOP Aggravating McCarthyism against PSPD
Guarantee the Freedom of Opinion and Expression by Peaceful Means

1. On June 11th, the Center for Peace and Disarmament of People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD) delivered a letter with the report ‘The PSPD’s Stance on the Naval Vessel Cheonan Sinking’ to the fifteen member States of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the United Nations Secretary General, and the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations by email and fax.

2. PSPD called upon the UNSC to make a decision heavily prioritizing peace on the Korean Peninsula. This was a non-partisan effort consistent with the stance of PSPD, which had uniformly requested to the government to disclose information and investigate the matter thoroughly and transparently to clarify the root causes of the sinking of the Cheonan warship.

3. Among major international NGOs from democratic countries, such as PSPD, sending a letter to the UNSC is part of common UN advocacy work. It is a rightful exercise of the legitimate rights given to a participant of the UN. PSPD has also persistently called on the South Korean government to correct various social and security problems through international institutions such as the UN.

4. However, the Lee Myung-bak government officials reported PSPD’s advocacy work as damaging national dignity and interests. At their regular press briefing on June 14th, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade commented on PSPD's reaching out to the UN Security Council as "a very unfortunate event," adding that "it is of utmost importance that the Korean people are united and speak uniformly while the international society addresses the Cheonan issue." The Prime Minister publicly questioned PSPD’s national allegiance, asking “of which country’s citizens are they?” The Blue House (the presidential house of the Republic of Korea) also condemned the NGO’s activities, starting with inflammatorily remarking “One wonders what their intention was in committing such an act.” 

5. A country cannot be viewed as democratized if its government suppresses NGO activism and condemns it as a harmful to national interests when NGOs seek to bring internally disputed issues to the international arena. We, PSPD reiterate that diplomacy should be open to democratic monitoring. In a true democracy, diplomacy should reflect the democratic process through consensus. In a mature democracy, expressing one’s opinion regarding government policies is an important civic duty and the rightful use of a guaranteed freedom. Fear-mongering should not be used as a means to chill free speech and impede the fulfillment of civic duties. It is not the legitimate exercise of basic rights and civic duties but such anachronistic and anti-democratic practice that is harmful to national interest and dignity.

6. National security and diplomatic policy decisions should not be monopolized by military and diplomatic authorities. This principle is evidenced by the history and reality of all civilized nations and the existing UN decision-making process. 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. Regarding the case of the Cheonan incident, we will exert our best efforts to proceed with our previously submitted petition to the Lee Myung-bak government to release information. We hope to increase civic oversight over security and diplomatic authorities through such efforts. In addition, we again urge the Lee Myung-bak government to at once cease to suppress of fair and free voicing of opinions in Korean civil society.


 

▣ Official Accusation Remarks from the Lee Myung-bak Government on PSPD


○ The Grand National Party, Spokesperson(Hae Jin Cho)’s Statement (June 15, 2010)
PSPD’s behavior is a typical enemy-benefiting behavior… The Republic of Korea is not an impotent government that leaves treason and enemy-benefiting behavior uninterfered-with in the name of freedom until the country falls into the enemy’s hand. Harsh constitutional measures must be imposed on those who try to sell/betray the country while hiding behind freedom and democracy.
http://www.hannara.or.kr/ohannara/hannews/news_01_view.jsp?no=57000

○ The Grand National Party’s floor leader, Moo Sung Kim / June 15, 2010
(Statements at the Grand National Party’s emergency meeting discussing appropriate counter-measures) In one word, I think that (such behavior) is enemy-benefiting behavior that threatens the identity of the Republic of Korea and injures our national security… PSPD is no longer a legitimate South Korean NGO because it is neglecting its roles as a legitimate NGO but acting as a frontline for the ‘anti-US, pro-DPRK’ movement…It is a shame that (PSPD) behaved in such an irrational manner during a time of national security crisis in which strong unity within the populace is requisite…Even though South Korea is a democratic country guaranteeing freedom of expression, I cannot tolerate such irresponsible, pro-DPRK conduct benefiting the enemy…PSPD should voluntarily dissolve… (PSPD) must pay price.
http://www.hannara.or.kr/ohannara/hannews/news_01_view.jsp?no=57002

○ Spokesperson of the Blue House / June 14, 2010
(Reply to the opinion on the PSPD’s letter to the UN Security Council at the regular briefing time) This is a shameful and worrisome situation. As you well know, it (the Cheonan incident) is a closed case, concluded by scientific and objective investigation with the participation of international experts. More than fifty countries of the international community expressed faith in the process. I really want to ask PSPD their underlying purpose in engaging in such behavior.
http://www.president.go.kr/kr/president/briefing/briefing_view.php?uno=672&article_no=163&board_no=P02&search_key=&search_value=&search_cate_code=&order_key1=1&order_key2=1&cur_page_no=1&cur_year=2010&cur_month=

○ The Prime Minister Un-Chan Chung / June 14, 2010
(Answer during the Q&A Time of the National Assembly) I think this is a time in which the Korean people need to appear united at the situation that the international community is dealing the really critical incident that the Cheonan warship was shot. It is not really contributing to the national interest at all that the NGO took such action. I cannot but expressing deep concern, and I wonder of what nationality they (PSPD) are. Such actions are against national interest. It (PSPD’s actions) dishonored and shamed our country.

○ The 2nd Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Chun, Yung-woo / June 15, 2010
(At the Question Time of the National Assembly) It (PSPD’s letter to the UNSC) is making our diplomacy difficult. The PSPD’s letter to the UNSC retrogresses our measurement that we want to make at the UNSC. (Reply 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.


The PSPD's Stance on the Naval Vessel Cheonan Sinking

2010062100_PSPD Urgent Letter.pdf
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