Greetings from the human rights activists in South Korea.
You may have heard of the Yongsan Tragedy which happened on January 20th this year. It took the lives of five protesters and one police officer, who caught on fire in the police crackdown against people in a sit-in struggle to fight against forced evictions.
Almost eight months after the tragedy, the bodies of the five victims are still kept in freezers. The bereaved families decided that there is no way to hold a respectable funeral for the deceased without bringing justice for them.
Indeed, nothing has been solved. The prosecutors argue that the protesters caused the fire with no evidence presented. Moreover, they are not making public their investigation results ,about 3,000 pages long, even after the court ordered them to do so. Redevelopment projects are in progress in the Yongsan area and in a number of other places across the country. Tenants are still being evicted with little or no assistance for resettlement.
We ask of you two things, along with the attention and support for this tragedy. Your support would be a great strength for all of us in solving the Yongsan Tragedy.
1. Screen the documentary film on Yongsan Massacre, <People Who Cannot Leave> which was the opening film in the 13th Seoul Human Rights Film Festival held in June this year with the aim to raise public awareness of the situation. We hope that human rights activists and NGOs around the world watch this 1-hour long film, and organize film screenings for supporters and local communities. Your attention to this issue will be a great help for bringing justice for the Yongsan Tragedy victims and survivors.
You can download the film at
To get the DVD of this film, email the director (email@example.com).
2. Send us a message to support the Yongsan Civil Court
The Yongsan Civil Court, in which the Yongsan Tragedy will be dealt with by the citizen's hands, will be held on the 18th of October. At the Yongsan Civil Court where the citizens themselves will be the indictors, the police who are not being punished by the Korean judiciary will be called to account for the crackdown which caused the deaths. Furthermore, we will be looking into the problems of the so-called 'redevelopment projects' which was the cause of the Yongsan Tragedy. Please send us a message in support of the Yongsan Civil Court and your hopes that tragedies alike the Yongsan Tragedy would never happen again.
Our e-mail address is : firstname.lastname@example.org
* For more information, go to the Yongsan coalition website at http://mbout.jinbo.net or refer to the attached files. We are attaching an Urgent Appeal that we had sent the UN Special Rappoteur on Housing Right. It has a summary of what happened until June, 2009.
* contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to share your solidarity actions, support and local film screenings, and to get english subtiltles text file.
※ more on 'People Who Can't Leave,' the film
There are people forced to leave their homes because of the thoughtless development plans of the landowners and construction companies. However, there are people who can't leave their homes which are about to be removed.
Pal-Kyu Shin, a resident of Sangdo 4-dong, Dongjak-gu, is one of them. Most of his neighbors, who could rent a small house, moved to other places. Shin wants to leave too, but he can't afford to rent a house.
Sang-Lim Lee used to own a pub in Yongsan4ga-dong, Yongsan-gu. When the removal plan was announced, he and other store tenants occupied an empty building and made a watch tower at the top of the building to fight against the thoughtless plan. However, he was killed during the demonstration.
Portraying such cases, the director portrays the removal process of Sangdo 4-dong, Wangshibni 1 district, Yongsan4ga-dong and asks whether the 'redevelopment plan' is beneficial for everyone or a chosen few.