PSPD in English Newsletter 2022-09-13   57

PSPD English Newsletter, September 2022

This Month at PSPD

September 2022

월간 참여사회 2022년 9월호 (통권 298)

The Right to Live in a House that Does Not Flood: Resolve Housing Inequality!
On 8 and 9 August, record rain resulted in the deaths of a family of three who lived in a banjiha (a semi-subterranean housing) in Seoul’s Gwanak district, and the death of another person in their fifties who also lived in a banjiha in Sangdo-dong, Dongjak district. It was both a natural disaster induced by climate change and a human-made tragedy caused by a lack of disaster control measures. For a week from 16 August, PSPD, in association with ‘Disaster Inequality Memorial Action,’ set up a memorial site in front of Seoul City Council, for the housing vulnerable, the developmentally challenged, the needy, and laborers who lost their lives in this tragedy. In addition, we, in cooperation with housing rights civil society organizations, have issued policy demands to protect ‘the right to live in a house that does not flood.’

Election Law’s ‘Poisonous’ Clauses finally Determined to be Unconstitutional
PSPD and other civil society organizations formed the General Election Citizen’s Network in 2016 and have since picked ‘10 Worst Candidates’ using our online platforms, announced the list of candidates unfit for office, and held anti-campaign press conferences accordingly. While this is a legitimate type of social campaign, the Seoul Metropolitan Election Commission sued 3 members of the Network, and the Police/Prosecutor’s Office raided PSPD’s offices on 16 June 2016. PSPD filed a petition with the Constitutional Court regarding 4 ‘poisonous’ clauses in the Public Official Election Act, and, on 21 July 2022, the Constitutional Court decided in favor of PSPD. This is the result of persistent efforts to amend the Election Law since the year 2000, and the victory of our members who have raised their voices and voiced their anger with us whenever the Election Commission, the Police, and other institutions have curtailed voters’ freedom of speech.

We Listened to the Vivid Voices of Care Providers
The ‘People’s Solidarity for Ensuring Publicity of Care and Realizing the Right to Care’ launched last June, held a series of roundtable discussions titled with experts, in order to assess the current state of South Korea’s care system and to identify its problems. Firstly, we met with parents and teachers who fear that school vacations cause gaps in care, and, secondly, we discussed the current state of and alternatives to elderly care as we enter a super-aged society.

To Realize the ‘Audacious Initiative,’ First Suspend South Korea-US Joint Military Drills
President Yoon announced the ‘Audacious Initiative,’ his policy towards North Korea. However, the South Korean and US governments held joint military and field training exercises from 22 August. A strategy that aims to persuade North Korea to give up their nuclear weapons, without making any adjustments to our offensive military exercises and making substantive measures to reduce the threat, is impractical. Without a fundamental change in policy, the ‘Audacious Initative’ is unlikely to be realized. PSPD demands to switch gears from military confrontation to talks and negotiations.

“Stop Threatening Users, and Protect the Rights to Information” We Protested against Meta.
Do you often use Facebook and Instagram? Meta, the provider of these platforms, withdrew plans to collect a considerable amount of personal data following complaints from South Korean users. PSPD and other civil society organizations visited Meta’s South Korean agent’s office to deliver a letter of protest, informing that Meta’s handling policy of personal data is in conflict with the Personal Information Protection Act and demanding that Meta not collect large amounts of sensitive personal data.

Reviewing the First-half of the 21st National Assembly
We identified didim-dol·gullim-dol (steppingstone·obstacle) legislations of interest among those passed in the first half of the 21st National Assembly and took a careful look at National Assembly members’ voting records on these legislations. Among the 16 steppingstone legislations identified are the Housing Leasing Protection Act which seeks to protect housing for low-income earners, the Public Official Conflict of Interest Prevention Act, and the ratification of ILO’s Fundamental Convention to protect labor rights; among the 10 obstacle legislations identified are the Comprehensive Real Estate Holding Tax Act designed to cut taxes for the rich, the National Intelligence Agency Act which impedes reformation of the National Intelligence Agency, and the Performace of Duties by Police Officers Act which is a source of human rights abuse concerns.

“Climate Disaster: We Cannot Continue Living Like This” 9.24 Climate Justice March
We are seeing an increase in the rate of occurrences of unusual weather conditions and climate disasters including heavy rain. Our livelihood and our daily lives are facing imminent threats from these disasters. In the spirit of creating a world where everyone can enjoy an equal and dignified life in opposition to the current system which has caused today’s climate crisis, around 180 organizations will hold the ‘September Climate Justice Movement.’ From 19 to 23 September will be climate justice week, and, on 24 September, we will be holding a march for climate justice. Members, please join us in Gwanghwa-mun, at 3 pm, 24 September.

Translated by a PSPD Volunteer

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