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As international students studying in South Korea we raise our collective voice to call upon the Government of South Korea to stop all work on the Jeju naval base construction project immediately. We are deeply concerned after learning that the Jeju naval base construction project has been pushed forward by the government without proper democratic consultation despite a sizable body of evidence showing that the project is deeply flawed and that the public has been repeatedly misled.
A wide range of human rights abuses against peaceful protesters are taking place in Gangjeong Village on a daily basis in order to ensure that the construction goes ahead despite strong local opposition. These have already been well documented by a number of human rights organizations both in South Korea and around the world including Amnesty International, Asian Human Rights Commission, Forum-Asia and three United Nations Special Rapporteurs.
This project is destroying not only the natural environment but also jeopardizing the wellbeing and health of villagers. Millions of dollars have been spent on maintaining a total of almost 130,000 police in the area since 2011. The once peaceful and prosperous seaside community of Gangjeong is now falling to pieces as the very foundations of its livelihood, the water and the land, are being destroyed.
We believe that the Jeju naval base project will not only contribute to the further militarization of the Asia Pacific region, but will also increase tensions and add to regional insecurity. The southern sea of Jeju is a critical geopolitical points linked into the Southeast Asian Sea which has recently been the focus of sharply rising tensions among the surrounding countries due to the hegemonic tug of war between the US and China. As students learning about the importance of the values of peace, human rights, social justice and cultural diversity, we cannot conceal our disappointment and indignation towards those responsible for the further militarization of the region and the continuation of the Jeju Naval Base construction project.
We hereby strongly urge the South Korean government and legislature to: Stop all construction on the Jeju Naval Base project immediately; Guarantee the human rights of Gangjeong villagers and peace activists including the rights to freedom of assembly and expression, a clean environment, and peace; Adopt all recommendations made by the Gangjeong Village Association, Jeju Pan-Island Committee for Stop of Military Base and for Realization of Peace Island, and the National Network of Korean Civil Society for Opposing to the Naval Base in Jeju Island concerning the forced construction of Jeju Naval Base in Gangjeong Village; Adopt all recommendations made by the Gangjeong Village Association, Jeju Pan-Island Committee to Stop the Military Base and for the Realization of Peace Island, and the National Network of Korean Civil Society for Opposing the Naval Base in Jeju Island concerning the forced construction of Jeju Naval Base in Gangjeong Village; Adopt the recommendations made by the international organizations including UN Special Rapporteurs, Asian Human Rights Commission, Forum-Asia, etc. to adhere to international human right standards and protect the livelihood of the inhabitants of Gangjeong Village; Cut all funding allocated for next year’s budget for the Jeju naval base construction project, and finally start looking for proper measures to restore the ecological and human communities in and around Gangjeong Village.
Dec. 11, 2012
International students & academics demanding an end to the Jeju Naval Base Construction Project