Gavin Edwards, the Greenpeace East Asia Climate and Energy Manager for the Seoul office, arrived at Incheon airport today, but was stopped at immigration and is due to be deported later today (1).
Edwards is the architect of Greenpeace's campaign to oppose nuclear energy and advocate for the growth in renewable energy in Korea. He planned to lead the "Hope Energy" ship tour, onboard Greenpeace's ship M/Y Esperanza that will tour the country to promote the campaign.
His deportation comes on the back of the South Korean Government's ejection of three other Greenpeace staff two weeks ago (2). Yesterday, Greenpeace released its "Energy [R]evolution" scenario that shows Korea can get out of nuclear energy by 2030, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions, creating jobs and saving US$4 billion per year in investment and fuel costs.
"The Korean government has decided to throw money away on dangerous nuclear energy, and deal with criticism of this by blocking anyone who does not support its view. This simply does not match its long established democratic tradition," said Edwards from the Detention Centre at Incheon airport.
The deportation also follows this week's resignation of the head of Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power in the wake of a safety-related incident at the Kori nuclear plant and the exposure of the shockingly lax safety regime around the plant.
Edwards was accompanying Greenpeace International Programme Director, Pascal Husting – former head of Greenpeace France, in his first visit to Korea to launch the "Hope Energy" ship tour campaign and to host VIP visits at Greenpeace's Esperanza. Husting was allowed in.
"Trying to stop dissent about nuclear energy is against Korea's best interests. All over the world, the nuclear industry is on the run - covering up accidents and incidents and fighting the growing realisation that this form of energy is too expensive," said Husting.
"The Korean Government kicking out our people is not going to silence us, and will not stop the inevitable demise of this industry."
He will be on board the Esperanza this evening for the opening ceremony of the Korean ship tour which will be joined by the Mayor of Incheon City, Song Young Gil.
(1) He will be put on an 8 pm flight to Hong Kong this evening.
(2) The three Greenpeace senior staff who were deported on 2 April are:
i) Dr. Mario Damato, Malta/ EU passport holder, Executive Director of Greenpeace East Asia, Representative of Greenpeace in Korea
i) Fung Ka Keung, British National (Overseas) passport holder, Organisation Support and Regional Development Director, Greenpeace East Asia
ii) Rashid Kang, Malaysian passport holder, Organisational Development Manager for Greenpeace Seoul