[Photo by BASE21]

Human Rights Activists in South Korea start Hunger Strike against National Education Information System (NEIS)

"NEIS - A giant digital database established by the government to gather the private information of students, parents, and teachers"

Seoul, South Korea -- June 18th, 2003, nine human rights activists in South Korea starts hunger strike struggle on the street against National Education Information System (NEIS) for an indefinite period.

They stressed that NEIS, which is a giant database of people's private information, is to infringe basic human rights including privacy very seriously, and requested that the government should halt the implementation of NEIS and delete the section of private information in NEIS. They also condemned that the government is trying to gather lots of private information into this system without any agreements from people, so it is absolutely illegal and unconstitutional.

Fourteen civil society organizations and students groups established a coalition to struggle against NEIS and have carried out many activities to demand the abolishment of the NEIS, for examples, statement press release, online & offline demonstration and lawsuit to court and National Human Rights Commission. They have persisted that NEIS is illegal and unconstitutional, and actually ignores many international conventions such
as the OECD Guidelines on Privacy, Universal declaration of Human rights and UN Guidelines on individual information.

South Korean Government grants national ID number to all people, and collects finger prints from ten fingers, and have established a database system of the finger print. And the government integrated the national ID number database and finger print database. Furthermore, the government has tried to integrate this national ID number database and other databases of individual and private personal information, which is established by each department of the government. Many Korean people and civil society entities have criticized and condemned that this these database system infringed the basic human rights very severely, and requested that the government should try to investigate whether these kinds of system infringe the human rights before introducing them. But Korean government has been enforcing that kind of system including NEIS with few consideration of human rights.

Korea Teachers and Educational Workers Union (KTU), which is progressive teachers group, strongly criticized that the system could release personal information while managing more than 200 pieces of personal information of 8 million students in an integrated way such as center-gathering database, and have demanded the government to stop the implementation of NEIS.

May 12th, even the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) announced that NEIS infringes basic human rights, and officially opposed the implementation of NEIS.

June 1, however, the Ministry of Education announced that they would enforce NEIS. This decision is to ignore the civil societies and KTU's requests. Finally, many human rights activists made a decision to start hunger strike struggle against NEIS in front of Myungdong Cathedral. And KTU announced that it would hold a national-wide massive strike with large demonstration on June 21st.

Oh Byung-il from Jinbonet, who is a member of the group of hunger strike struggle, said, "the core debate of NEIS is related to the human rights in information society, and we never allow the implementation of NEIS, and will continue this struggle until the government announces that they would halt the implementation of NEIS."

Organization list which participate in this hunger strike struggle
- Korean Progressive Network (Jinbonet)
- Sarangbang group for Human Rights
- Center for Human Rights Dasan
- Peace & Human Rights Coalition
- Chunbuk Peace & Human Rights Coalition
- Catholic Human Rights Committee
- Minkakyup Human Rights Group
- Won Buddhism Human Rights Committee
- Ansan Labor and Human Rights Center

Related website against NEIS
http://noneis.jinbo.net
http://neis.yright.org
http://neis.idoo.net
http://www.anti-neis.wo.to/
http://dsure.yright.org

You can see the pictures about this struggle at BASE21
http://www.base21.org/show/show.php?p_cd=0&p_dv=0&p_docnbr=28694

[Source from BASE21(http://www.base21.org)]

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