Thursday, June 01, 2006

FORUM-ASIA Condemns the use of state violence on peaceful protesters in South Korea

FORUM-ASIA strongly condemns the use of excessive force unleashed by Korean riot police and military troops on more than 700 farmers, human rights and peace activists protesting against US military bases expansion in Daeuchuri Village, Pyungtaek, forty miles South of Seoul, on 4 May 2006.

The incident has left more than 130 farmers and human rights defenders injured and 350 arrested as riot police and troops were deployed to crush the protest against forced eviction. This severe use of force to disperse the protesters has caused a large number of injuries to not only human rights defenders and peace activities but elderly farmers.

Such abuse of police power is a blatant example of the Korean authorities’ failure to respect human rights as guaranteed not only by the South Korean constitution but also various international human rights treaties to which the Republic of Korea is a party to. Clearly, there is no justification to the decision to use violent force in reaction to legitimate protests and Korean Authorities must adhere to the fundamental principle that under no circumstances should violence ever be used by authorities nor should arbitrary detentions result from protests.

The lack of national consensus on the issue of US military bases expansions and the denial or lack of respect for the rights of the affected people to information and participation in the decision-making process have aggravated the situation which resulted in strong protest by farmers who had to face forced evictions and human right defenders and peace activists who opposed the forceful enforcement of government policies which lacked legitimacy.

We, at FORUM-ASIA, strongly urge the South Korean government to release immediately those arrested in relation to their peaceful and legitimate exercise of the right to assembly and protest. Furthermore, we urge the relevant authorities to undertake an independent investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice thereby combating impunity for the prevention of the occurrence of similar human rights violations in the country.


The authorities in South Korea have scant respect for human rights. The government bestowed upon riot police and troops the power to bulldoze farmers, human rights and peace activists. These are the people who are going to be affected by the building of the base and yet, martial law is imposed upon these very people who are g0ing to be affected once again.

It says alot doesn't it? South Korean authorities against the South Koreans in favor of a US Military Base.

The sweetest part of the deal? The US is not the least affected by the violence. They will just go ahead and build the damned base.

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