South Korea immigration

Last Friday Rashid Kang, Organizational Development Manager for Greenpeace Seoul, was AGAIN deported upon arrival to Korea. This is the third time Greenpeace senior staff have been deported this year.

In April three senior staff of Greenpeace were deported upon arrival to Incheon International Airport as they accompanied Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International to Korea to promote Greenpeace's Hope Energy Tour (pictured above). As a result, only Kumi was able to enter and meet with Wonsoon Park, the Seoul City Mayor, and Youngil Song, the Incheon City Mayor and other important stakeholders in Korea on Korea energy policy.

Last Friday was Rashid’s second attempt to enter Korea since his deportation in April this year. The Korean Government has so far refused to provide any explanation as to why select Greenpeace senior staff members have been denied entry, who are on the list, and for how long. But such dirty administrative tactics will not deter our operation in South Korea and the relevant staff will continue to travel to Korea as part of their usual work plan.

We suspect these actions are related to a Greenpeace campaign against nuclear energy in Korea. Since launching a new office in Korea, Greenpeace has been campaigning for an ‘Energy Revolution Korea’ that pushes for a move away from dangerous nuclear energy.  This goes against the general direction of the current Korean government’s aggressive nuclear expansion plan. Recent polling by Chosun Ilbo, the nation’s largest daily newspaper, shows that 62.4% of Korean population supports the nuke phase-out and transition to renewable energy. Despite this the Korean government went ahead and designated two new sites for Nuclear Power Plants and described them as engines for ‘green growth’.

The government announced their aggressive plan to promote nuclear energy right after Greenpeace's announcement they would be setting up an office in Seoul went out to media last year. A government source leaked to the media that 9 million USD has been allocated for 2012 for this promotion alone. Then in March this year, the government paid a huge amount of money to Patrick Moore, who left Greenpeace a long time ago, in order to deceive the general public and the media. Moore framed himself as a Greenpeace founder who is now endorsing nuclear energy.

Greenpeace’s No Nuke Campaign not only criticizes the current energy policy but also suggests a better alternative. Greenpeace is proposing a new scenario that would ensure a better and safer tomorrow for Korea. The new Energy [R]evolution Report for Korea shows that it is possible to phase out nuclear energy by 2030 and replace 60% of energy supply with renewable energy and energy efficiency by 2050, while creating jobs, and reducing the cost of energy and generating massive savings in electricity supply. Furthermore, we also pointed out the government's apathy towards safety and outdated evacuation and emergency plan through the Korean version of Lessons from Fukushima report.

Greenpeace is a peaceful organization that only engages in non-violent campaigns. Even though four of Greenpeace's senior staff responsible for the establishment of our Seoul office have been deported in recent months, this won't stop Greenpeace from campaigning against nuclear in Korea, as we have been since 1971. And we feel encouraged that so many Korean supporters have begun to raise their voices with us.

In spite of the government’s continuous harassment, the Greenpeace Seoul office successfully finished the Hope Energy Tour with MV Esperanza. And now the Greenpeace team is preparing for the next phase of our no nuclear campaign push in Korea.