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Global Actions for Sewol 1000th Day

The global community is putting their actions together to commemorate the 1000th day since the Sewol Ferry Disaster on 16th April 2014.

Nearly three years have passed but no independent and transparent inquest was carried out to date. Park Guen-hye’s government did not hide their desire to end the enquiry into the disaster as quickly as possible with taking as little responsibility as possible or none.  Continue reading “Global Actions for Sewol 1000th Day”

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Announcement | Date for January 2017 protest

The monthly silent protest is normally on the third Saturday of each month to

  • remember the Sewol victims;
  • demand Korean government to raise the Sewol ferry without dismantling for a thorough inquiry and recover all missing victims;
  • punish those responsible; and
  • enact special anti-disaster regulations.

However, 9th January 2017 is the 1000th day since the Sewol Ferry Disaster, so we are moving the date forwards to 14th January 2017 as this is closer to that date.

On 9th January 2017, Birkbeck International Documentary Society will screen “SEWOL” documentary to mark the 1000th day.

The meeting point is North Terrace, Trafalgar Square North (in front of National Gallery).

*Poster credit | Organised by Seungho Lee / Designed by Kwangsun Kang 

Arrest, Investigate, Imprison Park Geun-Hye!

Park Geun-Hye has finally lost the power she desperately clung to despite the largest public protests in South Korean history.

As the impeachment process begins, we now demand a thorough criminal investigation and punishment of Park and all her cronies. Koreans want an end to the corruption and elitism that Park and the Saenuri Party have represented. We must be vigilant that powerful forces do not begin a whitewash of Park’s disastrous presidency. Real change can only happen in South Korea by maintaining the public pressure that has brought the nation this far.  Continue reading “Arrest, Investigate, Imprison Park Geun-Hye!”

Remembering Sewol Disaster UK Statement on Park Geun Hye’s Presidential Announcement 29 November 2016

[Remembering Sewol Disaster UK Statement on Park Geun Hye’s Presidential Announcement 29 November 2016]

There is no cause yet to celebrate president Park Geun Hye’s announcement, apparently offering to let Parliament arrange her exit. In reality she is trying to avoid impeachment and delay her departure.

“If the governing and opposition parties inform me of the way to minimize the confusion and vacuum in state affairs and ensure a stable transfer of power, I will step down as president…”

So, even though she is at the centre of an enormous scandal and has the lowest public approval of any leader in South Korean history, Park reserves the right to approve parliamentary plans, which she knows could take considerable time. Talk of arranging a smooth transition is undoubtedly a coded message that she won’t step down unless impeachment is dropped. Any ongoing criminal investigation would be cited as the ‘instability’ and ‘confusion’ she insists must be absent in order to have her term shortened.

Park could, and should, have simply resigned today. Not one of the citizens taking to the streets has held up a placard saying, “negotiate with parliament a possible shortening of Park’s tenure”. The message from millions, “Park Geun Hye Resign!” is not difficult to understand.

Since the beginning of her presidency Park Geun Hye has been bad news for South Korea. The Sewol tragedy proved her to be an inept and heartless leader. There have been countless examples of dictatorship-style rule but it has taken the extraordinary drama of Choi-gate to galvanize near universal public condemnation of her presidency. Park’s announcement today represents an attempt to leave office without actually resigning and to retain a semblance of respectability. Most of all it is an attempt to evade justice.

Despite the announcement, Park Geun Hye’s immediate and unconditional resignation is still the only thing the Korean public will accept. Continue reading “Remembering Sewol Disaster UK Statement on Park Geun Hye’s Presidential Announcement 29 November 2016”

BBC – Outlook | Voice of Father of One of Student-Victims

Gyounggeun Yoo, father of one of the Sewol disaster student-victims, was interviewed by Jo Fidgen of Outlook, BBC World Service at the Broadcasting House on 10 May. It was the first day of his visit to the UK as part of European tour.

Mr Yoo and Ms Yoon who also lost her daughter in the disaster visited many cities in Europe including Berlin, London, Rome and Paris, 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.

The interview is now available to listen at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03tnxqh
(from around 13 mins 18 secs for 10 minutes).

 

Sewol Families Visiting Europe

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 parents and campaigners visiting Europe between 3 and 15 May 2016 hope to reach as many people as possible to highlight their struggle for truth.   Continue reading “Sewol Families Visiting Europe”

Statement By The United Nations Special Rapporteur On The Rights To Freedom Of Peaceful Assembly And Of Association At The Conclusion Of His Visit To The Republic Of Korea

An extract of Maina Kiai, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedome of Assembly and Association’s statement after his official visit to Korea in January 2016.

 Sewol Ferry Disaster

The Sewol Ferry Disaster is one of the most tragic accidents in South Korea’s recent past. I was honored to visit the memorial for the victims in Ansan, and deeply touched by the tributes, especially to the young lives that were lost. The pain experienced by the families of the victims is still very raw, but I was impressed by their commitment to ensuring that a similar tragedy does not recur. Continue reading “Statement By The United Nations Special Rapporteur On The Rights To Freedom Of Peaceful Assembly And Of Association At The Conclusion Of His Visit To The Republic Of Korea”

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