PSPD Newsletter : April 2014
- 2014.04.21 (18:27:50)
PSPD English Newsletter : April 2014
<The report from Lee Tae-ho, secretary-general of PSPD>
This month of the PSPD, Dreams we are making together
I have planted a branch of cherry blossom in a pot in the mid-March and watered it every day. Now, buds started to shoot up from the branch. Cherry blossoms are blooming in Tongin-dong near PSPD secretariat office. Daffodils planted last year at the backyard of PSPD have quietly sprung out and grown fast that flower buds begun to open. The life force of the spring makes me feel dizzy. We bought young plants of whitlow grass, moss pink and begonia from a neighboring florist and planted them. Let me report activities of PSPD in March.
● The 20th General meeting of PSPD has successfully held on 8 March with blessings and new pledges of members. Executives, activists and members made a vow to screw up for reflections and reforms in order to realize our dreams that we have made together for the last 20 years.
● After the meeting, PSPD executives and activists have visited Daegu, Gwangju, Daejeon and Busan on 22 and 29 March to greet members living outside of Seoul, and share plans and visions of 20 year-old PSPD. I would like to express deep gratitude for their hospitality.
● PSPD Academy Zelkova is holding spring lectures. In April, Democracy School lectures are opening including <PSPD, asking for the load of Korean society> a special lecture to celebrate 20 year-old PSPD, <Political philosophy> of Kim Man-kwon and Yoon Hong-sik’s <Welfare Nation Reading Club>
● A member’s club ‘San Sa Rang’ started hiking on 23 March and held a ritual to the god of mountains at Bukhan Mountain wishing for well-being and safety of the mountain and hikers.
● Tragic incident hap pened on 26 February that a mother and two daughters took their own lives. The death of this family brought out the issue of the people who suffer on blind sides of our social security system and preparing measures for them. The mother looked after livelihood of the family by her own but lost her job because she fell down and got seriously hurt on a way back home from work. While having no income, they decided to take an ultimate choice, the death. Neither employment nor industrial accident insurance does help workers who lose jobs because of injury during commuting. Despite of the facts that two daughters were credit delinquents, they could not receive a help of the basic livelihood security system because of the duty of supporting the family which asks parents to be responsible for children over 18.
▶ PSPD is studying blind sides of social safety net which drive the poor to the death. The matters focused on are effectiveness of the industrial accident insurance and the employment insurance, the basic livelihood security system especially problems of the duty of supporting the family, financing issues such as credit delinquent system and problems with residential welfare.
▶ [Urgent discussion to prepare alternative measures for blind sides of Korean Social Security System] was held on 3 March by the Social Welfare Committee of PSPD, the Council for People’s basic livelihood security, the Committee for livelihood of the People and the Hankyorye institute for Social Policies and they urged improvements of related systems.
● The Saenuri Party is trying to pass three bills; Basic Pension, Basic Livelihood Security and Pension for the Disabled under the name of ‘Three welfare Acts’ or ‘Livelihood bills’. However, they are no near welfare or livelihood but detrimental revision of acts. The notion of minimum livelihood cost is omitted in the reformed bill of the Basic Livelihood Security Act proposed by Park Geun-hye government and it lays responsibility to ministers concerning criteria for recipients and payment level. The Basic Pension Bill is retrograded from the presidential election promise which said to universally increase basic pension payment to double. Now it is designed to pay only to 70% low income level and reduce the basic pension amount for loyal pension payers. Moreover, the pension amount for the handicapped is also very low since the standard is not set at general but middle income class of the handicapped households.
▶ PSPD and concerned social organizations have held a press conference on 6 March to oppose three welfare Acts made in haste and organized activities to pressurize the National Assembly.
▶ The discussion ‘Uncomfortable truth of the Basic Pension Act of Park Geun-hye government’ was held at the National Assembly on 12 March. On 14 March, the urgent forum titled ‘Problems with the detrimental revision of Basic Act, focusing on medical allowance’ was held at Zelkova PSPD and discussed about medical allowance of the Basic Livelihood Security Act
● Health and Medical organizations including PSPD are having a movement of collecting one million signatures to oppose the policy which allows remote examination and profit-making affiliates of hospitals. On the same line, PSPD presented the comment on 10 March justifying strikes of the Korean Medical Association which protested against profit-making of hospitals. However, the Korean Medical Association and the government had a meeting twice and agreed on reform of the Medical Act permitting remote examination under the precondition to reflect a result of six month trial. Then, the Cabinet Council gave a tacit approval on 25 March and the concerned bill will be submitted to the National Assembly soon. We should not let this bill pass the National Assembly. Please join in one million signature collecting movement to stop profit-making and privatization of hospitals.
● Another goal of social welfare activities of PSPD is to spend more time with the young generation. In cooperation with the Youth Welfare Solidarity and the People’s Action to Straighten up the National Pension, it has organized ‘University tour – Pension Forum for the youth – You also become an old person’ on 19 March starting at the Choongang University followed by the Korea and the Gyeonggi university and asked young people to pay attention to welfare agenda such as the National Pension.
● The Campaign for Anyone with Stable Life of PSPD and the Kyunghyang Daily started a campaign in March ‘Small but Precious Rights’. It targets to find small rights which we have lost or deprived in a daily life and tries to report unfair and injustice cases. For example, people can’t cancel mobile phone prescription on weekends. People pay but still forcibly watch advertisement.
● PSPD, the Korea Finance Consumer Federation, the Committee for People’s livelihood of Minbyun are having a class action lawsuit against three credit cards companies for personal information leakage and closed the list of litigant parties from the first and second invitation. In addition, PSPD requested an inspection to the Board of Audit on 20 March that the Financial Service Commission gave a tacit consent to life insurance companies on excessive collecting of personal medical records.
● Next to a movie <Another family>, a documentary <The Empire of shame> which exposes bare face of Samsung Semiconductor factory is on cinema. PSPD organized a group viewing of 50 and 30 members and citizens saw the <The Empire of shame> on 13 March at Cine Code Sunjae. After viewing, there was a talk with a family of Jeong Ae-jeong a Samsung semiconductor victim and a director Hong Lee-kyung. PSPD is joining in ‘Straightening Up Samsung ‘ a movement to make Samsung to stop destroying fair society and infringing labor rights’.
● The president Park Geun-hye and the National Economic Advisory Council are reinforcing policies favorable to large conglomerates and contrarily disposing or withholding rational regulations for medium and small enterprises and low income families under the name of regulation reform. PSPD, the Federation of Korean Distribution and organizations representing small and medium businesses held a press conference on 27 March to protest against deregulations and urged for legislating the list of business appropriate for small enterprises and small business. It also asked to enact Agency Protection Act and to adopt permit system for discount stores and SSM.
● It is found that the Financial Service Commission gave a tacit consent on Lone Star which was unqualified to become a large shareholder of the Korea Foreign Exchange Bank because speculative foreign private equity fund Lone Star was ‘nonfinancial company’ which did not make it eligible to govern. This fact was revealed from analyzing the information submitted by the Financial Service Commission on 20 February accordingly to the court decision for which PSPD and union members of Korea Exchange Bank demanded disclosure of assessment information used to judge if Lone Star was eligible to be a large shareholder.
● Therefore, PSPD and the Minbyun reported six authorities to the Prosecutor on 19 March who were in charge of approval at that time for dereliction of duty and misfeasance. The responsible reported include Jin Dong-su, a former chairman of the Financial Service Commission and Kim Seok-dong, a former chairman of the Financial Service Commission
▶ The Center for Judicial Watch has sent a letter of appeal to both leading and opposition party on 4 March for abolishing permanent special prosecutor system which was the promise to the people. In cooperation with Seo Young-gyo, lawmaker of the Minju Party, PSPD held <The Forum to assess prosecutors during the first year of Park Geun-hye government> on 10 March.
● The recent facts revealed on the spy evidence fabrication scandal of the National Information Service are showing how much bold the NIS can be. It’s secretive and illegal maneuvering activities even forged foreign official documents to make a good citizen a spy and obstructed judiciary proceedings. Especially, more striking fact is that spy fabricating activities were carried out at the organizational level under the order of Nam Jae-jun, the current president of NIS even during the NIS employees were being questioned and investigated for the NIS’s illegal intervention in the Presidential election. Despite of all above, the President Park Geun-hye keeps silence and does nothing on this matter.
▶ A joint press conference was held on 13 March by eleven civil and social organizations who were members of the Civil Society Organizations Network in Korea including PSPD, the Citizens' Coalition for Economic Justice, the Young Korean Academy and the YMCA Korea. They urged for dismissal of Nam Jae-jun, the president of NIS and adopting the independent special prosecutor system. After the conference, a relay of one organization demonstration was carried out for eleven days.
▶ <What should we do with this monster? – presenting how the National Information Service and the Prosecutors fabricated a spy> was organized on 15 March at the Cheonggye square and Yoo Woo-seong, a victim who was accused for a spy, his legal representative Kang Gyeong-wook from the Minbyun and a producer Choi Seung-ho from the Newstapa were present. It was jointly held by the Minbyun, the Democratic Legal Studies Association, the Minju Party special committee for NIS and the office of a lawmaker Seo Ki-ho.
● The council for current situation on NIS scandal announced the statement on 25 March together with 262 people from various fields. They urged to execute special prosecutor investigation for the unfair election in which public authorities intervened and falsifying evidences to make a spy, and to dismiss Nam Jae-jun, the president of the NIS, Kim Gwan-jin, the Minister for defense and Hwang Gyo-an the Minister for Justice. In addition, citizens were asked to pay attention for upcoming regional government election in order to prevent it from being another unfair one.
● The council for current situation on NIS scandals continues to organize a candle rally on every weekend in March.
● The promise of the Coalition for the New Politic and the Democracy which the Minju Party and the new political group of Ahn Cheol-su collaborated has become a big issue since they would not officially recommend candidates for governors and council members in coming election. Regarding the issue, PSPD takes the stance to be considerate for the elimination of party’s recommendation to keep the responsible politics.
▶ On the other hand, there are issues failed to get attention but more important than political reform. PSPD and the Political Reform Special Committee of the Civil Society Organizations Network in Korea jointly held <A series of 2014 political reform forum> on 20 and 25 March with the Civil Political Forum of the National Assembly. The first forum discussed measures to relieve conditions for a political party establishment in order for easy start of a new party. The second shared ideas to secure the right to express political opinions of voters before and after elections.
● It is confirmed that Kang Byung-gyu designated by Park Geun-hye for a minister candidate for the Ministry of Security and Public Administration falsely registered the address and illegally owned farms uncultivated. It is very improper to appoint him because he would be in charge of the Ministry which supervises ethics of public officers and residence address registration. The Center for Public Administration watch of PSPD submitted an opinion of unqualified candidate on 24 March to the Security and Public Administration Committee of the National Assembly. In the course, the progress report on appointment hearing failed to adopt while leading and opposition party could not agree on Kang’s qualification but the President Park Geun-hye seems to proceed on his appointment.
PSPD and the Minbyun have sent activists and experts to the 25th UN Human Rights Council (3-28 March) which was held in Geneva and Baek Ga-yun from the International Solidarity Committee of PSPD participated.
● The ‘Fund-raising committee to cover legal expenses of Gangjeong’ was officially established on 26 March to raise funds to pay about 300 million won of fines and legal fees levied to more than 600 Gangjeong residents and peace activists who have fought against Naval base construction in Jeju. More than 60 from various fields are participating as an advisor including a reverence Moon Jeong-hyun, a former head of Gangjeong village Kang Dong-gyun, Oh Young-ae (a mother of a Gangjeong peace activist), Shin Seung-cheol, a co-representative of Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) and Lee Seok-tae, co-representative of PSPD. As the first fund-raising event, supporting pub opened on 29 March.
● Having the fourth year since Cheonan naval vessel submerged, PSPD presented a comment insisting re-investigation and re-examination of the incident in order for ‘Korean peninsula trust process’ of Park Geun-hye government to work properly.
● PSPD won the case at the first trial for which it litigated the New Daily an internet press for defamation and damage. The Seoul Central Court decided on 5 March for the New Daily to compensate PSPD with four million won. The New Daily has spread out falsehood that PSPD oppressed and forced Chaebols to donate to the Beautiful Foundation.
So far, the report from Lee Tae-ho.
Details of the General Meeting can be found in the proceeding of the 20th General Meeting. Please see www.peoplepower21.org/PSPD/1136810 for more.
<Civil and Political rights related activities>
Prosecutors are walking on the abnormal path
(for further information, please visit http://www.peoplepower21.org/Magazine/1146679 - Korean only)
<Socio-Economic Rights related Activities>
Is your personal data safe?
(for further information, please visit http://www.peoplepower21.org/Magazine/1146677 - Korean only)
<Peace and Disarmament>
PSPD activist at UN Reported status of Korean human rights defenders at the 25th UN Human Rights Council
Korean Teargas driving out the death of Bahraini
‘Please stop tear gas export to Bahrain dictatorship which oppresses democratic protests’ the appeal of Bahraini human rights defenders and Korean peace activists echoed in the press conference room of the National Assembly.