PSPD English Newsletter, May 2015
- 2015.06.30 (10:21:26)
Tongin Newsletter, May 2015
<The report from Ahn Jin-geol, Deputy secretary-general of the PSPD>
Happy participation, Heartwarming solidarity _ This month of the PSPD
● Memorial for Sewol Ferry Disaster
▶ It became one year last April since the Sewol Ferry sank. People raised their voices with deep condolence calling for finding the truth why and how that disaster happened. Especially when Park Geun-hye government introduced a nonsensical ordinance which was nothing but interfering finding the truth, bereaved families and civil society became furious. Therefore, PSPD, People’s Council for the Sewol Ferry Disaster, 416 Solidarity have organized a memorial, a rally and a march consecutively on 11, 16, 18 and 25 April with bereaved families and citizens calling for salvage and a proper process of finding the truth.
▶ PSPD and the Kyunghyang Daily jointly planned and published a series of columns <Review – What has changed during one year after Sewol Ferry Disaster> accessing whether our society has become safer since the disaster. Nine experts have written for a series including a lawyer Jeong Mi-young (execution officer of Public Interest Law Center) and a professor Kim Jei-wan (execution officer of Judicial Watch Center) of the PSPD.
▶ Civil societies criticized tough stance and measures of Park Geun-hye government and the police since they set up unconstitutional and unlawful vehicle walls and shot and abused water guns and teargas against ordinary citizens who tried to have a memorial event for Sewol Ferry Disaster. PSPD has also actively responded to excessive and unlawful actions of the police. In 2009, it raised constitutional appeal on the act of setting up vehicle walls by the Police and led a judgement that was unconstitutional.
▶ On 14 April, PSPD published a report on problems associated with 11 deregulations of Park government under the critical thought that indiscriminative deregulations threaten safety of the people. It is the second report following the report presented in May last year <11 worst deregulation cases of previous governments>. Activity groups for social and economy of PSPD have co-worked and produced two reports and the third one would follow.
▶ PSPD promises to work hard together with bereaved families of Sewol disaster and citizens in order to find the truth of Sewol ferry disaster and to make a safe country. It will also activate public whistle blowing to make companies, a society and ultimately a nation safe. Moreover, it plans to carry out a movement to improve laws and systems to enhance protection of whistle blowers.
● Political reform including election system for lawmakers
▶ PSPD organized a roundtable discussion of citizens <Noisily and clamorously, Let’s change the politic> on 22 April for the purpose of bringing a political reform issue to the public such as increasing proportional representations. More than 200 citizens participated in a roundtable and PSPD will carry out political reform activities based on what has been discussed.
● Opposing an appointment of Park Sang-ok for a justice of the Supreme Court
▶ PSPD and civil and social organizations oppose Park Geun-hye government and the leading party for forcing an appointment of Park Sang-ok for a justice of the Supreme Court. The candidate was the prosecutor in charge for Park Jong-cheol case who was tortured to death. He was also involved in concealing the truth of Park’s death. Therefore, PSPD organized one-person demonstration, held a press conference with civil and social organizations last April. Furthermore, it presented a statement on 22 April that a chairperson of the National Assembly should not exercise his authority to put an appointment of Park on vote without adopting an appointment hearing report of the Hearing Special Committee and urged Park to resign from a candidate.
● PSPD participated in a NPT Review Conference
▶ PSPD has participated in a NPT Review Conference which was held in US in April 2015. It presented and conveyed a message concerning ‘Measures to end the Korean War and resolve nuclear tension in the Korean peninsula’.
▶ In addition, PSPD, the Women Peace Diplomacy, the Civil Peace Forum have jointed composed a letter and sent it to the White House, the US Congress and the US Embassy in Seoul on 25 April in regard to a joint session of Japanese Prime Minister Abe and the US Congress on 29 April. The letter stated a stance concerning issues with comfort women for Japanese soldiers, deterioration of the history, Peace Constitution amendment, rearmament policy and problems of Korea, US and Japan military cooperation.
● Activities and litigation for public interests concerning incorrect security education of the Army
▶ PSPD asked for a disclosure of movies used for security education by the Army in August 2014 because students, teachers and parents collectively complained that they were provocative and inclined. However, the disclosure demand was rejected and PSPD requested an administrative trial to withdraw the decision. Prior to a meeting of administrative trial committee, it also held a press conference to urge disclosure on 20 April but the committee rejected it on 22 April.
● MB wasted people’s tax on resource developments in overseas
▶ The National Assembly investigation on main five men of MB resource diplomacy (Lee Myung-bak, Lee Sang-deuk, Park Young-jun, Choi Gyeong-hwan and Yoon Sang-jik) was about to end without having a single hearing because the Saenuri Party persistently interrupted. Hence, PSPD denounced the Saenuri Party and presented a statement on 23 April calling for prosecutors to investigate regardless of sanctuaries and positions.
● Countermeasure on irregular employment issues and Solidarity for general strike of labor unions.
▶ General strike of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) on 24 April was a protest against anti-labor policy of Park Geun-hye government which would surely make irregular employment conditions worse. PSPD announced support and cooperation for KCTU and took part in general strike rallies because it believed that KCTU has placed interests of irregular employees, the working poor and the unemployed in the center in accordance with principles of social solidarity. Not only PSPD but also the Federation of Korean Distribution, the Emergency committee for saving ‘Eul’, the Network for economic democracy, the Civil Society Organizations Network which have been in cooperation with PSPD also expressed supports and solidarity.
● Enhancing public pensions and improving the National Pension
▶ The People's Action for Enhancing Public Pensions in which PSPD joins strongly objects undesirable change of public pensions including public servants pension in the direction of not securing old age of the people. As one of protests, PSPD held a press conference on 22 April reviewing the Working Committee for Public Servants Pension Reform and a joint press conference on 23 April insisting ‘Secure old age of the People with public pensions, by the state’s responsibility!’
● Environmentally friendly free lunch
▶ In collaboration with the Gyeongnam Solidarity for Environmentally Friendly Free Lunch and the Grass Root People’s Solidarity for Environmentally Friendly Free Lunch, PSPD has organized activities protesting against arbitrary cease of environmentally friendly free lunch for students by Hong Jun-pyo, Gyeongnam provincial governor. It organized a press conference in front of Seanury Party building and a joint press conference at Jeongron-gwan of the National Assembly followed by a urgent National Assembly discussion <Free lunch is a part of education> on 22 April for amending a legislation for school meal program.