Emergency Action Committee to Save Jeju and Speaker at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) World Conservation Congress (WCC) 2012, Imok Cha has been denied entry to Korea.
On September 3, Imok Cha, who has been working tirelessly to spread news related to the struggle against the Jeju Naval Base project was unjustly blocked from entering Korea, upon arrival at Incheon Airport, outside Seoul. According to Imok, she arrived in Incheon Airport and had her passport scanned and then was fingerprinted.
She said, “As soon as they scanned my passport and fingerprinted me, they took me to an office. No explanation of why I am not allowed in to even see my elderly parents!”
She was then detained for 30 minutes before being forced to board a plane to Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. Save Jeju Now recieved this news from her while in Seattle awaiting a plane back to San Fransisco.
As stated, no explanation was given for her denial of entry by the Korean Immigration Office.
The IUCN’s WCC 2012 is being held in Jungmun, Jeju, just 7 km from Gangjeong and the Jeju Naval Base project site. She had planned to join the WCC as a speaker to speak on important environmental justice issues surrounding the illegal and violently enforced destruction taking place in Gangjeong.
Furthermore she was hoping to visit her elderly parents who live in Korea. It is an inhuman act of cruelty to deny her the ability to see her parents.
With the entry denial of Cha, the total number of internationals denied entry to Korea, related to the struggle to save Jeju, since Aug 26, 2011 is now 16. This includes 3 members of the U.S. Veterans for Peace and 12 people from Japan and Okinawa.
This entry denial highlights again who much the Korean government (and perhaps the U.S Government) wishes to hide the truth of what is happening on Jeju. This denial comes right after news that the IUCN has rejected to give an exhibition booth at their congress to Gangjeong Village due to pressure from the Korean government.
The South Korean government is clearly afraid of the increasing international solidarity as more people find out the real truth behind what is happening in Gangjeong. This pathetic and cowardly attempt to stop our movement will only increase our momentum. Or does the Korean government plan to block all the IUCN speakers?
Please help us spread this news, and denounce this oppression on international supporters as well as the continued violent and destructive naval base construction!