PSPD Newsletter September-October
<Civil and Political Rights related activities>
1. Finding the truth of illegal surveillance against civilians will continue till the end
Organizing a special committee for illegal surveillance against civilians which was agreed in ‘Opening negotiations’ of the 19th session of the National Assembly had been delayed because Saenuri Party lingered to appoint members in charge. Hence, PSPD publicly questioned Saenuri Party for the reasons and urged to form special committee. Thereupon, committee was barely formed but National Assembly investigation plan has not been adopted yet. To call for an immediate start of investigation, PSPD requested a meeting with the chairperson of the committee and both parties, and had a meeting with Park beom-gye, a National Assembly member on 23 August. Moreover, PSPD keeps commenting, presenting statements whenever new findings unveil such as a document of ‘Changing a reporting channel in the Blue House’ and accordingly urges the special committee to move quickly to find and disclose facts. PSPD’s activities to find and disclose the truth of illegal surveillance will continue till the end.
2. Proposed a reform bill of Security and Guard Act to stop violence of security and guard contractors
While violence of security and guard contractors are frequently witnessed in labor-management disputes, removal and demolition sites, PSPD appealed to enact a reform bill of Security and Guard Act in order to stop violence of security and guard contractors. Lim Soo-kyung, a member of Integrated Democratic Party officially proposed a bill on behalf. Main contents of a bill include followings. Adoption of deployment permission system will ask security and guard contractors to report deployment plan 48 hours in advance and get approval from the police. Conditions for issuing permits to security and guard contractors and obligation of the police to control and inspect them are to be reinforced. In case facility owner employs illegal contractors and uses physical force, they should jointly take responsibilities and indemnify for damages. In addition, penalties for violating Act should be strengthened. PSPD will try the best for this reform bill to be processed soon.
3. Bring intentional slanders and monstrous lies to justice
Kang Yong-seok, a former parliamentarian described in his blog last February as like PSPD formed and led a movement of eradicating military service related corruptions targeting Lee Jeong-yeon, the first son of 2002 presidential candidate Lee Heo-chang. Kang made a false argument right before the general election to get attention from the public and seek a chance to politically comeback. PSPD believed that it severely damaged its fame so that litigated Kang and some press which published Kang’s lies without checking for deformation by spreading false information. In addition, Internet media ‘New Daily’ posted false report through a column of Park Sung-hyun saying PSPD pressurized large conglomerates to donate one billion won each to the Beautiful Foundation. This case is also brought to justice that PSPD is firmly dealing with intentional slanders and monstrous lies.
4. No more Internet real-name verification system
The Public Interest Law Center of PSPD filed a lawsuit on 25 January 2010 insisting that Internet real-name verification system violates the constitution and eight justices of the Constitutional Court ruled by unanimity on 23 August accepting PSPD’s argument. Internet real-name verification system was adopted in January 2007 in order to prevent evil comments that management of online boards which more than 100,000 people visits a day had to check identification of writers by law. The Constitutional Court stated that freedom of anonymous expression facilitates freedom of expressing ideas, thoughts and opinions without disclosing own identification. Because of a few internet abusers, the right of most people should not be restricted. Moreover, collected personal data in the process of verification is required to be kept for six month from the posting that it bears high risk of leakage. Despite of court’s decision, still assignments remain that verification system is still valid for election of public positions. Eventually, this should also be abolished respecting the decision of the Court.
<Socio-Economic Rights related Activities>
1. How should we spend National Pension?
The poverty rate of the elderly of Korea reaches to 45% which is three times higher than OECD average 13%. According to 2007 revision of the National Pension Act, pension benefits dropped down from 60% to 40% of pensioners’ average income with 40 years subscription. As supplement, basic old-age pension was adopted but recipients are limited and benefits are not sufficient to sustain a stable life. Hence, labor and civil society held a discussion ‘National Pension Scheme and alternative measures to manage fund’ on 16-17 August seeking for a reform of National Pension Scheme and measures to use a part of 350 trillion won of pension fund for expanding pubic infrastructure such as public rental houses, day care facilities and hospitals. Labor and civil society is planning to form a joint action group and wholly approach to pension issues.
2. Forum for adopting living wage
Current minimum wage is a form of negotiated wage so that it is decided by labor-management bargaining and consequently improving income standards for low income workers is limited. On the other hand, living wage system allows public organizations to enforce private companies in a business relation with such as service contract, dispatch, commissioned work and procurement to define standards of reasonable wage of workers in a contract and comply it. Living wage can upgrade the standards of low income workers who are engaged in public sector contract and positively affect and improve low wage system of private sectors. There are various activities of living wage movement in western countries to resolve wage polarization and problems associated with income gap. On 30 August, PSPD introduced living wage system campaign of western countries and held a discussion if living wage system is needed and can be applied to our society. PSPD will organize campaign with Nowon-gu and Sungbuk-gu provincial governments to adopt and apply living wage system to provincial governments.
3. Forum for welfare finance expansion and realization of justices in taxation
The Center for Tax Reform of PSPD organized a forum on 21 August to assess the 2012 bill for the Tax Act reform and its direction. The forum discussed whether the reform bill pursues tax expansion and fair taxation, and how to realize and sustain healthy finance and welfare funds. Current reform bill presented by the government and the leading party Seanuri is far from executing finance expansion and justices in taxation. The Center for Tax Reform pointed out problems in this bill and will carry out activities for increasing corporate tax, surging alternative minimum tax rate of large conglomerates and stopping other tax easing attempts for the rich.
<Peace and Disarmament>
1. The Peace over flowers, Grand March for the peace of Gangjeong
“Grand March for the peace of Gangjeong” was held in Jeju from 30 July to 4 August. More than 7,000 people participated in this five nights and six days walk wishing for the peace of Gangjeong village which has been groaned under naval base construction for the last 6 years and rebirth of Jeju island as a ‘living peaceful Island’. 100 people who started a peace cruise from Incheon joined on 3 August. A cultural event the ’13th People’s action for scrapping Jeju naval base plan; Gangjeong, Sing the peace’ was held on 4 August with around 4,000 people and they prayed for a peaceful resolution.