Who Will Speak For Jeju Coral?



Speaker at WCC 2012 and member of emergency action committee to save Jeju denied entry into Korea

By Staff
Save Jeju Now

Emergency Action Committee to Save Jeju and Speaker at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) World Conservation Congress (WCC) 2012, Imok Cha has been denied entry to Korea.

On Monday September 3, Imok Cha, who had been working to spread news related to the struggle against the Jeju Naval Base project was blocked from entering Korea, upon arrival at Incheon Airport, outside Seoul. According to Imok, she arrived in Incheon Airport and had her passport scanned and then was fingerprinted.

Jeju coral (Photo credit: Save Jeju Now).

She said,

“As soon as they scanned my passport and fingerprinted me, they took me to an office. No explanation of why I am not allowed in to even see my elderly parents!”

She was then detained for 30 minutes before being forced to board a plane to Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. Save Jeju Now received this news from her while she was in Seattle awaiting a plane back to San Fransisco.

No explanation was given for her denial of entry by the Korean Immigration Office.

The IUCN’s WCC 2012 is being held in Jungmun, Jeju, just 7 km from Gangjeong and the Jeju Naval Base project site. She had planned to join the WCC as a speaker on environmental justice issues surrounding the illegal and violently enforced destruction taking place in Gangjeong.

Furthermore she was hoping to visit her elderly parents who live in Korea.

With this entry denied to Cha, the total number of internationals denied entry to Korea, related to the struggle to save Jeju, since Aug 26, 2011 is now 16. This includes 3 members of the U.S. Veterans for Peace and 12 people from Japan and Okinawa.

The entry denial highlights how much the Korean government (and perhaps the U.S Government) wishes to hide what is happening on Jeju. This denial comes right after news that the IUCN rejected an application for an exhibition booth for Gangjeong Village due to pressure from the Korean government.

Please help to spread this news, and denounce this oppression of international supporters and the destructive naval base construction.


IUCN blocks participation by Jeju villagers who oppose naval base construction near convention

Press Release
Save Jeju Now

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) leadership refuses to criticize Korea’s destructive naval base that is killing numerous endangered species and destroying indigenous communities. This stance from IUCN defies its traditional mission of conserving nature and promoting a “just world.”

The  IUCN’s World Conservation Congress (WCC), held every four years, is the world’s largest environmental event. The 2012 WCC will take place from September 6-15 on Jeju Island, the “jewel” of South Korea. Over 7,000 leaders from government, the public sector, non-governmental organizations, business, UN agencies and social organizations will meet at this event.

Although the meeting is just a few miles from Gangjeong village, the IUCN has again and again resisted requests from those living in the 450-year old fishing and farming community to help them protect their sacred nature and coastline from naval-base construction. A five-year non-violent campaign continues in the village and more than 500 people have been arrested for attempting to block the destruction of their way of life.

While IUCN continues to proclaim its devotion to protecting Nature through the democratic process, its leadership has ignored or whitewashed projects that are assaulting these wonders, and undermining human rights and sustainable livelihoods.

The naval-base project, meant as a home port for Korean and U.S. “missile defense” warships 300 miles from China, is threatening one of the planet’s last great soft coral reefs, and other coastal treasures, killing numerous endangered species (including one on IUCN’s famous Red List), and destroying centuries-old sustainable communities.

The Gangjeong villagers are met with daily police brutality. Such activities represent all that IUCN has traditionally opposed. The Samsung Corporation’s construction division is building the naval base and has made significant financial contributions to the WCC.

On August 22, an official letter arrived from the IUCN leadership informing the Gangjeong villagers that their request to host a small information booth at the convention was denied. No explanation was given.

“The Korean government announced that it would not permit any demonstrations or even picketing within two kilometers of the Convention. So, no speaker from the village or information table inside. No demonstrations outside. We are disappointed because we thought the IUCN stood for democratic participation,”

commented Sung-Hee Choi, a Gangjeong resident and member of the International Organizing Committee.

Gangjeong villagers continue to press for a chance to address the IUCN and for a public display booth at the event. Efforts have been made to contact most of the thousands of IUCN delegates coming to the event and several have volunteered to introduce resolutions opposing the Navy base. Villagers intend to invite IUCN members to visit Gangjeong and see the environmental devastation for themselves.

Concerned citizens around the world are being encouraged to send messages to IUCN demanding fair treatment for Gangjeong villagers.

Messages can be directed to: jml@iucn.org, president@iucn.org, congressforum@iucn.org; congress@iucn.org

A petition will be delivered to the IUCN by villager leaders. You can sign it here.


Organizing Committee & International Support Group includes:

Christine Ahn, Global Fund for Women; Korea Policy Institute
Imok Cha, M.D., SaveJejuNow.org
Jerry Mander, Foundation for Deep Ecology; International Forum on Globalization
Koohan Paik, Kauai Alliance for Peace and Social Justice
Maude Barlow, Food and Water Watch, Council of Canadians (Canada)
John Cavanagh, Institute for Policy Studies (U.S.)
Vandana Shiva, Ph.D., Navdanya Research Organization for Science, Technology and
Ecology (India), Walden Bello
Member, House of Representatives (Philippines), David Suzuki
The David Suzuki Foundation (Canada), Robert Redford
Actor, founder of Sundance Institute (U.S.), Gloria Steinem
Author, Women’s Media Center (U.S.), Noam Chomsky
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (U.S.), Raj Patel
Institute for Food and Development Policy/Food First (U.S.)
Buffy Sainte-Marie, Ph.D., Educator, Singer-Songwriter (U.S.)
Angie Zelter, Trident Ploughshares, (UK)
Matt Rothschild, Editor, The Progressive magazine (U.S.)
Susan George, Ph.D., Transnational Institute (The Netherlands)
Galina Angarova, Pacific Environment (Russia)
Lagi Toribau, Greenpeace-East Asia
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Tebtebba Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for
Policy Research and Education (Philippines)
Lisa Linda Natividad, Guahan Coalition for Peace and Justice (Guam)
Eugeni Capella Roca, Grup d’Estudi I Protecció d’Ecosostemes de Catalunya (Spain)
Sara Larrain, Sustainable Chile Project (Chile)
Korean Federation for Environmental Movement and Citizen Institute for Environmental Studies (South Korea)

Contact: Sung-Hee Choi (Gangjeong, South Korea) gangjeongintl@gmail.com
Koohan Paik (Jeju Emergency Action Committee) kosherkimchee@yahoo.com
Save Jeju Campaign website http://savejejunow.org/


VIDEO; Save Jeju, save peace (3 1/2 min).


VIDEO: Jeju Island, a natural wonder (8 min).


Sources: Save Jeju Now #1 | Save Jeju Now #2

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