PSPD in English Peace/Disarmament 2014-06-12   1638

[Statement] The government employs cruel violence instead of persuasion and communications in Miryang

The government employs cruel violence instead of persuasion and communications in Miryang

The government and Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) must immediately communicate with Miryang villagers and apologize for the use of violence

PSPD seeks continued support and solidarity from the UN and the international community


(12 June 2014, Seoul) People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy(PSPD) strongly condemns the South Korean government and KEPCO who enforced the illegitimate construction of 765kV power transmission towers without any proper consultation with the local community in Miryang. On 11 June 2014, the South Korean government and KEPCO used cruel violence against the Miryang villagers who have protested at the construction sites of 765kV electronic transmission towers number 101, 115, 127 and 129. These high voltage electronic transmission towers are being constructed without a proper consultation with local residents. The government legitimized the use of violence by insisting on the legality of vicarious administrative execution. Miryang villagers along with civil society activists and religious groups were brutally attacked by the police while they were protesting peacefully and demanding a right to live in peace. It seems like that the government and KEPCO have already forgotten the lessons learnt from the SEWOL ferry disaster, which highlights the necessity of prioritizing human life and human security over profit. 


As soon as the June 2014 local elections were over, the government and KEPCO violently crackdown local villagers and activists through the excessive use of police forces. More than 2,000 police forces and over 200 civil servants were deployed in Miryang to crackdown less than 100 elderly villagers. During the vicarious administrative execution in Miryang, the police, who supposed to protect Mirayng villagers, brutally violated people’s rights. They demolished protest tents and threatened elderly villagers, nuns and activists with cutter, and illegally took their photos for surveillance purpose. As a result of the clash on the day, around twenty villagers and activists were urgently hospitalized while many others were injured, and two people were arrested. The government’s duty is to protect the right to a live in peace, not to suppress its people by using its authority.


We urge the South Korea government to first immediately solve the problems relating to the transmission tower by holding local consultations with Miryang’s local community and to apologize for brutally suppressing the villagers. Furthermore, we ask the government to preserve people’s security and guarantee Miryang villagers the peaceful right to live. Without consultation with the local community the construction of 765kV power transmission tower has already lost its legitimacy. The electronic transmission tower in Miryang was originally constructed to deliver electricity from The New Gori Nuclear Power Plant to the capital area. However, the original plan was already cancelled and construction of the New Gori Nuclear Power Plant No. 3 and No. 4 was postponed as problematic parts were found. Therefore, there is no reason for the government and KEPCO to enforce construction of electronic transmission tower in Miryang. 


The international community has already expressed their concerns about the violation of human rights in Miryang. In October 2013, international and regional human rights organizations such as Asian Forum for Development and Human Rights (FORUM-ASIA), CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation and International Federation for Human rights, FIDH) pointed out serious concerns about human rights violations that the Korean government and KEPCO are infringing on villagers and activists in Miryang. They also urged the Korean government to ensure the freedom of peaceful assembly and demonstration and to hold a genuine consult with local villagers. Ms. Margaret Sekaggya, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders who visited Miryang last year made a recommendation to the Korean government to  ” Adopt a human rights-based approach to development policy and programming, including by establishing mechanisms for consultation and effective participation of the communities affected by large-scale development projects.”


PSPD will continue to seek solidarity from the UN and the international community to support the Miryang villagers by submitting urgent appeals about the human rights violations during the vicarious administrative execution on Miryang. We will stand in solidarity with Miryang villagers to stop illegitimate construction of electronic transmission towers, and make a society which prioritizes life and human before profits. 


Translated by Minjung Bark, Proofread by PSPD

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