APN+ - ITPC - AFAO - APNSW & Act Up-Paris
ICAAP10 : Korean activists arrested and threatened with criminal action for peaceful protest ; International activists roughed up by police and security
Civil Society condemn the use of force by korean security on peaceful demonstrators
samedi 27 août 2011
Busan – South Korea - Police beat and arrested South Korean activists, among them people living with HIV/AIDS, during a PEACEFUL march at the ICAAP in Busan.
The march was organised to protest against Free Trade Agreements being
negotiated across the Asia Pacific region. International and Korean
activists were jointly marching through the Conference Convention
Center. Even though the protest was not disrupting any activities of
ICAAP, plainclothed government security staff considered the activists
as a threat and arrested them.
Some of the activists were badly hurt while stopping the police
arresting their colleagues.
At least three activists have been hospitalised and according to
reports, the police have shown up at the hospital and threatened them
with criminal charges. A woman activist, a lawyer working on human
rights was taken away by force in a police car despite the best
efforts of activists to prevent the arrest. Repeated questions as to
why the activists were being arrested went unanswered.
After her release, Suh Yeon Chang, a lawyer working with the Korean
Public Interest Lawyers Group GON G-GAM, stated that the police did
not inform her of the reason for the arrest, which is illegal
according to the South Korean criminal law. Even after reaching the
police station, Chang says, the police were unable to inform her of
the reason for the arrest. Nor was any legal form about the arrest
from the scene made available, another requirement of Korean criminal
law. Korean activists noted that this was unfortunately standard
Activists from Asia-Pacific region were marching peacefully through
the ICAAP to register their protest against FTAs being negotiated
across the region with the European Union and the United States. The
FTAs threaten access to generic ARVs and other essential medicines
through their demands for increased intellectual property protection.
South Korea has signed an FTA with the EU and the US. The US-Korea FTA
is yet to be ratified by the South Korean Parliament and activists
were hoping to highlight the dangers of the FTA to access to medicines
through their march.
APN+, ITPC, APNSW, AFAO and ACT UP-Paris express their shock and
outrage at the Korean police and security guards’ actions and strongly
condemn the arrests and the beating of the activists that ultimately
resulted in the hospitalisation of three people. They demand an
unconditional apology from the South Korean Government, the South
Korean Police and the conference security guards and concrete
assurance that South Korean activists will face no further harassment
for peaceful protests.
International activists are also extremely concerned about the fate of
their Korean colleagues once the ICAAP conference is over. We call on
UNAIDS and the Global Fund to take responsibility and follow up to
ensure there is no further harassment or police action against South
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