In response to individual complaints sent to the UN special procedure mandate holders, a joint letter was sent to South Korean government on alleged acts of harassment, intimidation and ill-treatment of peaceful protesters in Gangjeong village on 30 May 2012.
In the letter, the Rapporteurs ask questions on the cases for clarification and request the Government to send a response within sixty days so that it can be presented at the UN Human Rights Council. Unfortunately, according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights until today which has passed almost 100 days since the letter was sent, the Government has not submitted any responses to the Rapporteurs.
The letter was jointly written by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression (Frank La Rue), Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of associations (Maina Kia), and Special Rapportuer on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders (Margaret Sekaggya). The letter is included in the Communications Report of Special Procedures (A/HRC/21/49) and is submitted to the 21st Session of the UN Human Rights Council which is now being held in Geneva, Switzerland (10 September~28 September 2012).
In the letter, three special rapporteurs expressed serious concerns regarding the physical and physiological integrity of all persons involved in the actions against the construction of the naval base. It also reminds the Government on principles and values in various international human rights standards including the UN code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individual, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally.
The Rapporteurs urged the Government “to take all necessary measures to guarantee that the rights and freedom of all persons involved in” the actions against construction of the naval base respected. They also requested that the Government “adopt effective measures to prevent the recurrence” of these violations.
We believe that the allegation letter and attention of the Special Rapporteurs on the human rights violations in Gangjeong shows that human rights violations on no Jeju naval base campaigners are grave. We would also like to remind the South Korean government that they will be soon reviewed under the Universal Periodic Review in October 2012. As the Government has shown their interest in running for the election to be a member of the UN Human Rights Council in 2013, we urge the Government to promote and protect human rights as enshrined in the international human rights standards and respect procedures of the UN Human Rights Council including Special Procedures. The South Korean government should responds to the joint allegation letter based on facts and immediately stop human rights violations on human rights defenders who are peacefully protesting against the naval base construction.
Please note that names of human rights defenders and sites where human rights violation happened are not made public in the UN document.
For further inquiries, please contact:
Ms. Gayoon Baek, People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, Coordinator, +82 2 723 4250, firstname.lastname@example.org