We aim to provide a collection of English summaries of press clippings in Korean to foreign journalists in South Korea. This collection of articles will highlight human rights violations committed by South Korean government authorities against activities by civil society organisations and individuals during the G20 Summit, which will be held in Seoul on 11-12 of November. Please note that the views of the news articles, DO NOT represent the view of Amnesty International Korea. Amnesty International Korea will monitor if any human rights violations are committed by government authorities during the G20 Seoul Summit, with particular focus on Freedom of Speech, Assembly and Association.
The police requested for an arrest warrant on a man who painted a rat on the G20 poster
2010.11.03, Herald Economics
Full text in Korean: http://biz.heraldm.com/common/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20101103000163
The police has requested for an arrest warrant on a man(40) who vandalized promotional poster for the G20 on grounds of “conspiracy to disturb the G20”.
According to the police, the man and a college student (23) spray-painted a rat on nearly 10 G20 posters near Lotte Department Store.
During the police questioning, he argued, “I drew a rat(쥐; pronounced gee in Korean) because it is called the “G”20” and “I was just trying to make fun out of this situation where the government has been overwhelmed by the G20. Can my country really be unable to take this level of humor?”
The police decided to request for an arrest warrant stating that it is a serious matter since it vandalized a governmental poster promoting an important international event AND it did not constitute simple, satirical humor but rather an organized and pre-mediated action.
Constitutional appeal submitted for prohibition on assembly near the COEX
Full text in Korean: http://www.asiatoday.co.kr/news/view.asp?seq=412752
A constitutional appeal has been submitted on a policy that prohibits assembly near the complex (the COEX) during the G20 Summit.
On Nov 2nd, Mr. Kim (49) submitted the constitutional appeal stating that?“Special Law for the Safety and Security of G20”?and designating the?“Safety Zone”?violates the right to assembly and other rights.
In his appeal, he argued,?“designating up to 2.1 km radius of the summit venue is too broad and it is in conflict with?“minimal violation of rights principle”?and?“It is unconstitutional to deny all requests for permission to assemble within the?“Safety Zone”?when the current law guarantees notification-based assembly because permission-based assembly is found to be unconstitutional.”
Mr. Kim has been demonstrating in front of a construction firm in Samsung-Dong asking for the right to reside and submitted a constitutional appeal when he was denied of the right to assembly between 8th and 12th
Oh G20…?students mobilized for street cleaning events, gun shops closed
2010.11.01, Kyunghyang Shinmun
Full text in Korean:
Kangnam-Gu, Seoul is hosting the?“Clean Day”?event on the 1st at the?“COEX Grass Square”?and will be cleaning the area for the next 10 days. A total of 1,700 people including public officials, citizens, and students will be participating in this event while 130 waste-pickup trucks and other equipment will be brought for a large-scale?“Environment Beautification”?project. The police also plans to conduct a crackdown operation on prostitution advertisements on the streets. Mr. Lee(33) who works near the COEX stated,?“it would have been nice to conduct a program with active participation from the public long time ago, but I cannot understand why they are using this mobilizational tactic at the verge of the event.
On the other hand, the police announced it will close down all gunshops near the COEX for security reasons. This despite a shop owner’s complaint that,?“it is the high season for us because the hunting season is approaching but the police notified me that they will close the shop for a week.”?Another stated,?“the continuous screening by police and other officials shrunk our business significantly.”
Lawyers for Democratic Society stated,?“the fact that the preparation for the event is solely based on the government’s one-way policy shows that it is still unable to break free of the old-fashioned thoughts”, on this matter.
Can neither punish nor ignore…?Promotional Billboards for the G20
2010.10.29, Nae-il Shinmun
Full text in Korean:?http://www.naeil.com/News/politics/ViewNews.asp?sid=E&tid=9&nnum=579618
Local government and related offices are agonizing over the G20 outdoor billboards that are mostly illegal. According the G20 Preparation Committee and Ministry of Administration and Safety on Oct 29th, outdoor billboards posted outside the buildings are mostly illegal regardless of which authority installs it. Current advertisements posted on the buildings and public buses clearly violate regulations and?“complete management of illegal advertisements for the G20”?order given by the G20 Preparation Committee. Ministry of Administration and Safety official stated,?“though it is a violation of the law, we are asking people to understand that this advertisement is in the interest of the public”.
Fight over the controversial “Amendment Bill on the Assembly and Demonstration Law”?postponed until the end of the G20, but…
Full text in Korean:?http://www.newdaily.co.kr/news/article.html?no=59830
The passage of the Amendment bill on the Assembly and Demonstration Law which will prohibit night-time assembly before the G20 is gaining controversy because the opposing parties’?agreement not to discuss the matter until the end of the G20.
What is the problem?
Article 10 of the bill which prohibits night-time assembly after the sunset is judged unconstitutional because the constitutional court decided that it is?“unnecessarily oppressive beyond the need of the public safety”. At the time, the Administration and Safety Committee’s ruling party members forcibly passed the bill which specifies the restriction as between 11pm and 6am. The Democratic People’s Party members did not vote on the matter in protest. The amendment bill is currently on the table at the National Human Rights Commission.
Responses from the Left-Right wing civil groups
On the 24th, the Korea Employers Federation (KEF) urged the National Assembly to pass the Amendment Bill before the G20 stating that?“the G20 is the perfect chance to elevate the class of the country up to the very first of the world but the civil groups are preparing to illegally assemble, risking the level of credibility of the country.”?However, liberal civil groups such as the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy stated in June when the amendment was initially introduced that?“the Grand National Party and the Police are attempting to pass the bill to prohibit all assembly within the time frame”?and?“its restrictions are clearly excessive”.
Parties postponed the matter until the G20…?But?
On October 22nd, the Admin and Safety Committee Chairman Ahn Kyung-Ryul attempted to introduce the bill to the Congress and Democratic Party members physically blocked his way up to the podium. The Grand National Party’s floor leader Kim Moo-Sung firmly stated his position saying,?“The Amendment is needed not just for the G20 but for everyday life after the event”?and?“we are waiting for the opposition party to come to an agreement. The Amendment will be passed”. Democratic Party’s floor leader Son Hak-Kyu criticized the GNP for?“attempting to use deceitful tactic to pass a bill that is judged unconstitutional.” “We want to the government and the ruling party to be more honest and confident about the process.
The Police quietly strengthens the security at the COEX before the G20 Summit
With just about 2 weeks left until the G20 Summit, the police deployed at the COEX created greater tension by increasing its security level. On October 25th, 8 policemen patrolled the COEX, closely watching the pedestrians. The police stopped anyone who was seen shooting videos or taking pictures of the COEX area or all those who are suspected of terrorism for reasonable reasons in accordance with the?“Special Law for the safe and secure conduct of G20”. The police stated they?“will not conduct indiscriminate screening of the shoppers until the end of the (G20) event”. The police plans to install safety walls which are 2.2 m-high around a 600m perimeter of the COEX starting 3 days before the Summit. They will issue stickers to the employees and residents within the perimeter to minimize the screening process in the morning each day. The Chief of National Police Agency Cho Hyun-Oh stated,?“The walls are not to block all traffic around the COEX but to only stop demonstrators within 10-20 minutes once a large-scale demonstration breaks out.”Also, he stated that he is expecting around 300 foreign nationals with a history of international violent protests to visit Seoul during this period and plans to?“thoroughly manage them”.
Immigration Office checks for security before the G20
On October 25th, Ministry of Justice’s Korea Immigration Service held a conference of heads of immigration offices and conducted a final check, prior to the G20 Summit, of immigration safety measures. Ministry of Justice will operate the?“Comprehensive Immigration Situation Room”?24-hours a day to support successful G20 and expand the number of immigration check points from 10 to 30 from 6th of November for convenience of the participants. According to the Ministry of Justice, as of October 17th, number of visitors denied entry into the country for reasons such as?“unclear motive for entry”?increased about 72% compared to same time last year as a result of stronger screening measures.
G20 People’s Response Action starts moving
Full text in Korean:?http://www.redian.org/news/articleView.html?idxno=20068
Prior to the G20 Summit on 11th and 12th, the government is bringing?in to effect?“Special Law for the Safety and Security of G20”?which enables mobilization of the military for security reasons, and the police are advocating to introduce special equipment like the sonic cannon to suppress demonstrations. Although proper level of preparation for the security of the international summit is necessary, excessive blockade on assembly and demonstration makes criticisms inevitable.
In response to this government-ruling party actions,?“People First!?G20 People’s Response Action”?is taking more active approach beginning October 1st. It defines the basis of the group as the following: criticize systematic problem of Neo-capitalistic financial globalization and the G20 which passes on the burdens of financial crisis to the citizens of developing countries; criticize Lee Myung-Bak administration which oppresses democracy, human rights, and labor rights in the name of the G20; construct responsive voice of labor, public, and civil society on the G20; strengthen unity in the call for financially restrictive, labor-friendly, and eco-friendly policy and empower movement against Neo-capitalistic globalization.
Plans for Action
n??6th-12th of November: ‘G20 United Response Action Week’
n??7th:?‘National Laborers’?Assembly Against the G20’
n??8th-10th:?“Seoul International People’s Conference
n??11th:?“International response day against G20”
n??10th-11th:?“Summit”?with heads of national labor organizations from G20