[Statement] Inspection of Sewol Ferry Victims’ Families: President should apologize to the Sewol Ferry Victim’ families and dismiss a person in charge
Statement of Civil Society on Inspection of Sewol Ferry Victims’ Families
President should apologize to the Sewol Ferry Victim’ families and dismiss a person in charge.
Belated apology at the front, nimble inspection at the back
(20 May 2014, Seoul) It emerged that the police has shadowed and inspected the Sewol ferry bereaved families consistently. On May 19th 2014, Family Countermeasure Committee for the Sewol Ferry Tragedy said that the bereaved families found out plain-clothes policemen of Information Department following the families, and protested against it, and then the chief of Gyeonggi Province Police Agency made an apology for it. According to the bereaved, they have been suspicious of being followed by the police and the suspicion is confirmed this time. The president offered an apology to the bereaved in the morning, but the police of the Information Department shadowed and inspected the families in the evening. The government and the president who don’t even have minimum courtesy to the bereaved families should apologize for shadowing and inspecting and immediately dismiss a person in charge.
As the inspection was detected, the police made an apology but strongly claimed that it is not to inspect or shadow the bereaved families but to protect or help them. However it is obvious that the police are telling a lie, considering that there is no reason to protect the bereaved in secret, the officers shadowing the families are peace preservation police belonging to Information Security Department, and the police denied the bereaved access to the intelligence report. This is not a simple misunderstanding. That the police has shadowed and inspected the bereaved means that they regard the bereaved as ‘potential criminals’, and it is the proof that the government puts emphasis on its security only, not on a urgent rescue, investigation, empathy and healing for the pain of bereaved families.
The police blocked the bereaved that went to see the President with their riot shields, and the presidential spokesperson commented about the ‘genuine bereaved families’. People around the government have made improper remarks one after another, denouncing the bereaved families: the bereaved are uncivilized, run wild, exploit the situation politically and so on. From recently disclosed report guidelines on the Sewol ferry tragedy to the inspection by the police authorities this time, evidence that public opinion manipulation and tip-off politics reminding about the military dictatorship time are rampant comes out from all over the place. It shows that PARK Geun-hye government’s fundamental perception toward the tragedy is problematic.
We strongly condemn the inspection of the police authority which regards the bereaved families as ‘potential criminals’ and does not have minimum courtesy to them. In order to vouch for authenticity of the president’s public statement and belated apology made yesterday, an apology should be made directly by the president, not by the chief of Gyeonggi Province Police Agency. Also the person in charge of the inspection and those involved should be strictly censured and dismissed.
(Translated by Zo Misung, Volunteer)
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