The G20 Summit is NO EXCUSE for Repression!

October 1st, International Day of Action against the pre-Summit attack on Democratic and Human Rights in South Korea

 

Dear Friends and Allies,

 

You have already received an email urging you to join protests against the G20 Summit, which will be held in Seoul, South Korea from November 11 to 12. As you know, the G20, originally formed to respond to the global financial crisis, is attempting to set itself up as the authority responsible for directing the world economy and defining world governance. While completely excluding most nations from decision-making, the G20 is attempting to make the world ‘safe’ for neoliberal capitalism by forcing emerging economies to shoulder part of the burden of the crisis, promoting trade and investment liberalization dressed up 'in new robes', negotiating weak financial reforms that largely allow financial speculation to go on unchecked, and reviving the ailing IMF and other IFIs. This agenda is being pursued despite the fact that neoliberal capitalism is clearly a failed model, which only increases poverty and inequality around the globe.

 

As if this was not enough, the Lee Myeong-bak administration is using the upcoming Summit as an excuse to strengthen repression of common people and social movements in South Korea. To fight this attack we need your support, even before November.

 

On October 1st tell the South Korean government and the world that the G20 Summit is NO EXCUSE for Repression by participating in the International Day of Action against the pre-Summit attack on Democratic and Human Rights in South Korea.

 

Background

The government is carrying out its attack on democratic and human rights on many fronts.

 

Claiming they are “establishing public order to support the successful opening of the G20 Summit,” the Immigration Service and other government agencies have been conducting a massive crackdown on undocumented migrants, during which migrants are brutally arrested, imprisoned and then deported. Proclaiming to be “preemptively responding to foreigner crime,” the Seoul Metropolitan Police Department has been carrying out blatantly illegal and racist stop and search procedures, questioning anyone they think looks ‘suspicious’, which generally means anyone who looks foreign and dark-skinned.

 

The government has also formed a “special road maintenance crew” to “clean up the streets” before the G20 by cracking down on street vendors. The police have been patrolling areas where homeless people usually spend time, such as subway stations and neighborhoods where service organizations and temporary boarding houses are located. These measures are brutally destroying the livelihoods and wiping out the resting places of South Korea’s poor.

 

At the same time, the government has been carrying out a devastating attack against South Korean workers and labour unions, even going so far as to ignore commitments made at previous G20 meetings. At the 3rd G20 Summit held in Pittsburgh in September 2009, national leaders agreed that, "the current challenges [posed by the crisis] do not provide an excuse to disregard or weaken internationally recognized labour standards.” Despite this fact, the government has repeatedly defied ILO Committee of Freedom Association recommendations by repressing unionization by teachers and public employees, applying the Article 314(Obstruction of Business) of Penal Code to prosecute union officers, and attempting to control union activities through implementation of the ‘time-off’ system, which drastically limits the number of union staff that can paid on company salaries. The government is also violating the G20’s stated principle of putting the creation of ‘decent jobs’ at the center of economic recovery by pursuing labour flexiblisation policies including the weaken of restrictions on mass lay-offs and expansion of the industries in which agency workers can be legally employed.

 

To top all of this off, in May the ruling conservative Grand National Party forced the passage of a “Special Law on the Safe Escort of the G20 Summit,” which legalizes tools for the repression of the rights to freedom of expression and assembly. This law, which goes into effect on October 1, allows the government to mobilize the army “if necessary” to maintain public order. It also established ‘Safe Escort Zones’ around the G20 meeting site, the hotels where representatives will stay, the routes they will travel to the Summit, and other G20 related areas. Public officials are authorized to stop people from entering these zones and to carry out indiscriminate stop and search procedures within them. What is more, they are not required to publically announce which areas during what times are designated ‘Safe Escort Zones’. This law is clearly meant to squash all forms of criticism and protest against the G20.

 

On October 1st tell the South Korean government that the G20 is NO Excuse for Repression!

 

If we do not resist these measures, repression in South Korea will only grow stronger. This will have a devastating effect on the lives of common people and the people’s movement’s ability to fight for more equitable alternatives to the G20’s neoliberal agenda. We need your support and solidarity now more than ever.

 

This is way we have proclaimed October 1st, the very day the “Special Law on the Safe Escort of the G20 Summit” goes into effect, an International Day of Action against the pre-Summit attack on Democratic and Human Rights in South Korea.

 

We are asking allies around the world to organize solidarity actions on this day and deliver the following demands to the South Korean government.

 

  1. The G20 Summit is NO excuse! Stop the crackdown on migrants, street vendors and homeless people!
  2. Honour international labour standards and ILO recommendations! Stop labour repression and labour flexibilisation policies!
  3. Repeal the “Special Law on the Safe Escort of the G20 Summit” and end repression of the rights to freedom of expression and assembly!

 

Solidarity actions may take the following forms:

 

  1. Rallies or other actions in front of South Korean consulates and embassies
  2. Meetings with consulate and embassy representatives to deliver protest statements
  3. Press conferences
  4. Rallies or other actions in public areas
  5. Any creative action you wish to organize

 

Attached is a sample protest statement, which can be used in meetings with embassy and consulate representatives and/or as the basis for press statements.

 

Please let us know about actions you have planned and send reports of completed actions.

News about solidarity actions, as well as any questions or requests for additional materials may be sent to: Peoplesg20action.seoul@gmail.com

 

Endorsed by

 

Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU)

National Association of Professors for Democratic Society (NAPDS)

Citizen’s Movement for Environmental Justice

Korean Federation of Medical Groups for Health Rights

Korean Women's Association United (KWAU)

Global Call to Action against Poverty Korea (GCAP-Korea)

Korean Peasants’ League (KPL)

Civil Society Network for Financial regulation and taxation on speculative capital

Civil Society Organisation Network in Korea

People’s Solidarity for Social Progress (PSSP)

People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD)

Korea Alliance of Progressive Movements

National Students March

Korean Women Peasant Association

Joint Committee with Migrants in Korea (JCMK)

All Together

Green Korea United

Korean Urban Poor Association

Alternative Forum of University Students

National Democratic Association of Street Vendors

Citizen’s Coalition for Economic Justice

Institute for Global Political Economy

Imagine Institute

Corea Institute for New Society

New Community Institute

Institute for New World

SpecWatch Korea

Korean Clerical and Financial Workers Association

NANUMMUNHWA_ Global Peace Activities

Korean People's Solidarity against Poverty

Energy & Climate Policy Institute for Just Transition (ECPI)

Action for Energy Justice

Migrant Workers Rights Watch, Korea

Solidarity for Street Vendors and Informal Workers

Korea Progressive Academy Council

Progressive Strategy Council

Center for Energy Politics (CEP)

Korea Federation for Environment Movement (KFEM) / FOE Korea

The Committee for a Socialist Workers' party (CSWP)

Democratic Labor Party-Korea (DLP-Korea)

New Progressive Party-Korea (NPP-Korea)

Socialist Party-Korea (SP-Korea)

Transparency International_Korea

People not Profit

Workers Institute of Social Science, South Korea

Korea Labor&Social Network on Energy

Korea NGO's Energy Network

Revolutionary Workers' Front

Students' Alliance against G20

Total 106

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