FORWARDED APPEAL (South Korea): Police adopt violence to suppress a peaceful demonstration in Korea 

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is forwarding to you an appeal letter issued by Sarangbang Group for Human Rights, a human rights organisation based in Seoul.

On 15 March 2006, a demonstration was held against the expansion of the US military base to Daechri in Pyungtaek from Seoul. Though the demonstration was being conducted peacefully, the police chose to suppress it with violence and took 40 people into custody. Not until two days later were 38 of the 40 people released. Two human rights activists, Park Raegoon and Cho Baeki continue to remain detained.

Please write letters to the persons listed below urging them to take action to ensure that the two human rights activists are released without delay.

If you have any further question, please contact Sarangbang Group at the address detailed below.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission

Release Korean Human Rights Activists, Park Raegoon and Cho Baeki

Arrested for Protesting Expansion of U.S Military Base

* Park, Raegoon is an activist in Sarangbang Group for Human Rights and

Cho, Baeki works with Catholic Human Rights Committee.

1. Outline

On the 15th of March, 2006, a demonstration, organized both by activists and the residents, was going peacefully on against expansion of the US military base to Daechu-ri, Pyungtaek in Kyungki-do, South Korea. Even though it was peaceful, the police suppressed it violently to take some 40 participants to the police station. During the suppression some villagers and activists were injured by violence committed by the police. They were released on the 17th because it was so clear that they were innocent. However, two human rights activists Park, Raegoon and Cho, Baeki were not released. Even worse, on the 18th the court issued a warrant of arrest and they are shortly transferred to Pyungtaek Prison. The court accused them of so-called “Int! erference with Government Officials in Execution of their Duties”.

2. Background

The US and Korean governments agreed to add new 1,154 ha to the existing 1,513 ha of US military base in Pyungtaek under the name of ‘Strategic Flexibility.’  It should be noted that US Military Base in Pyungtaek will play a major role in attack and containment against the People’s Republic of China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which will destroy peace sustained with difficult around the Korean peninsula. Therefore, the people in Pyungtaek, human rights and peace movement activists have organised daily candle lights demonstration for 500 days against the expansion of the US Military Base. The expansion will deprive the people in Pyungtaek of their lives in their home village.

On the 6th of March, 2006, the Ministry of Defense tried to occupy Daechoo-ri Primary School in Pyungtaek by force in order to use the building as an office for expansion. Thus, human rights activists had a press conference in the primary school, and then a peaceful demonstration was going on, which were officially and legally permitted by authorities.  The primary school came to be a center for the residents’ cultural activities since 2004. So the activists organized a demonstration against the expansion, and the Ministry’s plan to occupy the building failed.

On the 15th of March, 4,000 policemen and private service corps invaded the village again. So the residents and activists protested the invasion with peaceful measurement. During the confrontation some people was injured and 3 villagers were sent to hospital. And human rights activist Park, Raegoon and Cho, Baeki were arrested.

3. Appeal to Korean Authorities

The people’s demand is very clear and simple.

The villagers want to continue farming in their home village instead of being rooted out of their lives in home village.

The activists protest because we never want our farming field to be used as an invading military base to China and North Korea.  We want to secure our fundamental rights to sustain our peaceful lives.

“Release Human Rights Activists Park, Raegoon and Cho, Baeki Immediately!”

“Stop Expanding the US Military Base in Pyungtaek, South Korea!”

“Respect and Protect People’s Rights to Peaceful Lives!”

Please, send any protesting messages to the following addresses:

1. President Roh Moo-hyun
Blue House
1 Sejongno Jonno gu
Seoul Korea (110-820)
Fax: +82 2 770 4943/ +82 2 770 2440

2. Minister of Defence Yoon Kwang-woong
Ministry of Defence
22 Leetaewon Road, Yongsan gu
Seoul Korea (104-701)
Fax: +82 2 748 6026

3. Minister of Justice Cheon Jung-bae
Ministry of Justice
Building # 1, Gwacheon Government Complex,
Jungang-dong 1, Gwacheon-si,
Kyunggi-do, Korea (427-720)
Fax: +82 2 503 3532

4. Judge Sung Ji-yong
Pyungtaek Branch, Suwon District Court
152-3 Dongsak-dong Pyuntaek-si
Kyunggi-do, Korea (450-140)
Fax: +82-31-650-3004

5. Prosecutor Choi Woon-shik
Pyungtaek Branch, Suwon District Public Prosecutor’s Office
245-1 Dongsak-dong Pyungtaek-si
Kyunggi-do, Korea (450-718)
Fax: +82 31 650 3555

Please, send the copies to:

Sarangbang Group for Human Rights
8-29, Myungryun-dong 2ga, Jongno-gu
Seoul Korea (110-522)
Fax: +82 2 741 5364


Please also write to:

1. Ms. Louise Arbour
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10
Fax: +41 22 917 9012/0213

2. Ms Leila Zerrougui
Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
c/o Miguel de la Lama
1211 Geneva 10
Fax: +41 22 917 9006 (ATTENTION: Working Group on Arbitrary Detention)

3. Ms. Hina Jilani
Special Representative of the Secretary General for human rights defenders
Attn: Melinda Ching Simon
Room 1-040, c/o OHCHR-UNOG
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 93 88

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : FA-009-2006
Countries :
Issues : Human rights defenders,