On 16th April 2014 the South Korean passenger ferry MV Sewol sank en route to Jeju Island, taking the lives of 304 people, mostly high school children.  As the Korean public watched live pictures of the ship dangerously listed and slowly sinking,  authorities responsible for rescue acted with confusion and inertia.  An inexplicable announcement through news media that all passengers had been rescued set the tone for ineptitude that has characterised the handling of one of South Korea’s biggest disasters.

The captain and some crew members, mostly untrained temporary contract workers, were found to be criminally negligent.  However, no one has been prosecuted for the catastrophic overloading of unsecured cargo that almost certainly caused the disaster or the failure to launch a proper emergency rescue.  Two years on, families are still calling for a meaningful inquiry into the disaster.  Stories in South Korean press have emerged discrediting Sewol families as greedy and even ‘North Korean sympathisers’.  Such distortions and an apparent denial of truth and justice have strong echoes of the Hillsborough stadium disaster in the UK.  

The parents and campaigners visiting Europe hope to reach as many people as possible to highlight their struggle for truth.  They want not only justice for the victims but proper safety laws and regulations to ensure that such a disaster could not happen again. They hope to learn from those affected by similar disasters and from campaign groups fighting injustices.

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Poster designed by Jeehee Pak / Image of “304-souls: ‘Grief’ struck” by Magenta Kang

Event 1. 10th May 2016 12noon – 2pm

London Sewol Campaign with Sewol Families 

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Sewol families touring Europe will arrive London on 10 May and they requested to have a street campaign to distribute leaflets and Yellow ribbons to public.

The meeting point is North side of Trafalgar square (in front of National Gallery).

Event 2. 10th May 2016 6pm

The Practice of Recollecting: Panel Discussion to Commemorate the 2nd Anniversary of Sewol Ferry Disaster

Centre of Korean Studies at SOAS, University of London is hosting the panel discussion which will start at 6pm.

Panelists:

> Ms Kyunghee Yoon (4/16 Sewol Families for Truth and a Safer Society)
>Mr Gyounggeun Yoo (Executive Committee Member, 4/16 Sewol Families for Truth and a Safer Society)
> Mr Seung Ryoul Park (Standing Steering Committee Member, Coalition 4/16 on the Sewol Ferry Disaster)
> Ms Hyunju Park (Coordinator,  Coalition 4/16 on the Sewol Ferry Disaster)

Overview: 

On 16th April 2014 the South Korean passenger ferry MV Sewol capsized and sank en route to Jeju Island, taking the lives of 304 people, mostly high school children. Two years on, families are still calling for a profound inquiry into the disaster. Commemorating the 2nd Anniversary of the disaster, the panelists discuss several issues on truth and justice by asking some critical questions on ‘what caused the Sewol to sink, why the passengers were not promptly rescued, and why the sunken ship has still not salvaged.’ In the session, the panelists, who are the parents of the victims and campaigners, hope to share their stories and experiences and to discuss what should be done to avoid the reoccurrence of such a disaster. 

Event 3. 11 May 2016 7pm

Free screening of “Upside Down” documentary + Q & A with the Sewol families

Drinks at the bar from 6:30pm, then the screening of “Upside Down” (South Korea, 2016, 65 mins) with English subtitles will start 7pm sharp at the first floor of the Fountain, New Malden. No booking is necessary (first come, first seated).

These events have been possible because of generous donations from individuals and many volunteers. If you would like to donate, the link is here. If you would like to volunteer, please contact us.

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