Two Greenpeace directors have re-entered South Korea today after the denial of entry handed to them by the previous administration has apparently been lifted as part of the settlement the government sought from Greenpeace.
Mario Damato, Executive Director, and Fung Ka Keung, Organizational Director, both from Greenpeace East Asia, arrived at Incheon International Airport this afternoon to visit the Greenpeace office in Seoul. They were both part of the plaintiffs who sued the Korean Ministry of Justice (MOJ), arguing that denying them entry was unlawful and an abuse of power.
On June 5, 2013, the MOJ called Greenpeace requesting a settlement. At a court hearing on June 19, Greenpeace agreed to drop its lawsuit against the MOJ with an understanding that the Ministry would take positive measures including the end of its denial of entry against Greenpeace campaigners.
Greenpeace International, Greenpeace East Asia and six of their staff sued the MOJ in December 2012 for violation of legal principles and abuse of its discretionary authority. Greenpeace also argued that these denials of entry also illustrate the improper influence of the nuclear industry on Korea's political system, and represent a violation of the right to freedom of expression and association as guaranteed by the Korean constitution. Since 2011, six Greenpeace personnel were denied entry into South Korea and were not given any explanation.
"While we welcome this gesture by the MOJ, we are still in the dark as to why we were denied entry into the country. We can only conclude that this was motivated by the nuclear energy industry because it all happened at the height of our campaign against nuclear energy in Korea. We will continue to seek the reasons behind this form of suppression," said Mr Damato.
"Meanwhile, we will further campaign for the phase out of dangerous nuclear power plants in Korea. We are bringing our legendary ship, the Rainbow Warrior, to the country next week to galvanize opposition against nuclear energy in the country."
The Rainbow Warrior's "Nuclear Emergency Tour" of Korea takes place from July 5 to July 18. During the tour, Greenpeace will raise public awareness on the dangers of nuclear energy. Greenpeace has warned that a Fukushima-type disaster could happen in South Korea due to safety issues in the country's nuclear power plants.
Millions of Koreans who live within a 30-kilometer radius of nuclear power plants are at risk from a nuclear accident.
Following the Fukushima disaster, and after a series of scandals and malfunctions at South Korea’s nuclear plants, public opposition against nuclear energy in the country has dramatically increased. (1)
Kim Hye-kyeong, Communications Officer, +82 10-7712-3144
NOTE TO EDITORS
1) Korea Energy Institute said only 16% favoured nukes after Fukushima