The Joint Declaration of Korean Civil Society & Labor Organizations
There is nothing to expect from 2014 ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit attended by the major actors of military coup in Thailand.
In the 2014 ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit held on 10 December in Busan, Korea, one of the participants is Prayut Chan-o-cha, who launched a military coup in May 2014 and became the new prime minister of the military junta. Korean civil society organizations including labor organizations are strongly against Prayut’s participation in the Summit, who has been severely criticized by the international community for taking power through a military coup and arbitrarily arresting and suppressing citizens against the coup.
The military coup in Thailand is significantly threatening democracy not only in Thailand but also the entire Asian region. History clearly demonstrates that those who took power through violence without fair elections always resorted to repressive power for the sake of their own interest not that of citizens. If Korea and ASEAN fails to adamantly oppose the military coup power, it will lead to the retreat of democracy which is hard earn through Asian people’s sacrifices.
It is not only about Thailand. All the member states of ASEAN as well as Korea have been requested to step up their efforts in improving democracy and human rights. In this regard, it goes without saying that democracy and human rights should be included in the major agenda of the Summit. However, in the official web-site of the Summit, it is hard to find the specific purposes or agenda of the Summit, needless to say nothing on democracy and human rights issues.
Immigrant workers from the ASEAN countries are being forcefully deported by the Korean government without any overdue wages. Human rights violation concerns on workers and residents in the ASEAN countries in the course of the ODA projects by the Korean government or the investment projects by Korean companies have been consistently raised. When human rights issues are ignored, no genuine “partnership” is possible.
Korean and Asian civil societies remember the consciences of Thailand who have been put behind bars simply because they are against the military coup. What we want to hear from the leaders of Korea and ASEAN is not insubstantial economic effect of the Summit. We are asking them to answer what their position to the recent military coup in Thailand is. When the people of conscience are deprived of liberty, “Building Trust, Bringing Happiness,” the official slogan of the Summit is nothing but a play on words.
December 10, 2014
Advocates for Public Interest Law
Civilian Military Watch
Human Rights Law Foundation Gong Gam
Korean Confederation of Trade Unions
Korean Health and Medical Workers' Union
Korean House for International Solidarity
Korean Lawyers for Public Interest and Human Rights
MINBYUN – Lawyers for a Democratic Society International Solidarity Committee
NANUM MUNHWA(Global Peace Activities)
Palestine Peace and Solidarity in South Korea
People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy
SARANGBANG Group for Human Rights
(13 NGOs in Korea)