We, the Korean Human Rights Network composed of 35 human rights organizations in the Republic of Korea, are welcome to hear the news that 838 protesters who were detained in the police station were released yesterday. But, we are concerned that 14 protesters in detention are waiting for whether or not they would be prosecuted.
Even though there is an opinion that the activities of Korean protesters was somewhat in a violent way comparing to the nature of Hong Kong law and order, there need a consideration why they had no choice but to choosing such a way in the circumstance their life has been devastated by WTO. Therefore, they should not be regarded as a criminal and we hope 14 protesters (11 Koreans, 1 local, 1 Taiwanese, 1 Indonesian) who are currently detained in the police station will be released immediately without any conditions according to humanitarian way.
We have been reported by human rights groups and lawyers in Hong Kong regarding the use of excessive force by using pepper spray, tear-gas, and water cannon as well as human rights violations by the Hong Kong SAR police when they arrested and detained the protesters.
According to the protesters who have just returned to the Republic of Korea, the human rights violations committed by the police are also reported.
• The police used plastic strips to tie the protesters’ hands and did not allow them to be untied even when going to the rest room;
• Some Korean female protesters were slapped on their cheek by the police when they protested against the police’s attempt to strip them and do body searches;
• After being detained, they were unable to go to the rest room due to the police and warders at the detention centre not always being present;
• Not having any other facilities for detention the police detained protesters on the street for a long time. Some protesters were forced into police bus which traveled around the city for 10 hours after the protesters were arrested at 11am. Furthermore, the police did not inform the protesters of their rights at the time of arrest and left some of the protesters in the parking lot at the police station without blankets;
• Blankets were not also provided when the protesters were put on a cement floor in the police cell and the protesters were unable to stretch their legs because the cell was too small to detain 30 protesters;
• During their detention, the protesters were not allowed to make phone calls and were not provided proper medical attention.
In the light of the findings, we come to a conclusion that those affairs excessively restricted the rights guaranteed under the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in terms of freedom to assembly and protest, and article 19 and 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We further conclude that the use of “excessive” police force provoked the clashes between the protesters and the police.
We kindly request you to release the last 14 detainees unconditionally and guarantee their secure. We further request the relevant authorities to thoroughly investigate human rights violations of the protesters by the police.
We are looking forward to hearing from you.
SARANGBANG group for Human Rights
Seoul, Republic of Korea
Tel: +82 2 741 5363
Fax: +82 2 741 5364
Korean Human Rights Network
Keochang Committee for Peace and Human Rights Art Festival/ Supporters of Imprisoned Workers/GUNKAHYUP/Dasan Human Rights Center/ Counter Globalization Action(CGA)/ Solidarity for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Human Rights of Korea/ Korean Council for Democratic Martyr(KCDM)/MINKAHYUP Human Rights Group/ MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society/ The Democratic Legal Studies Association(DELSA)/ Busan Human Rights Center/ The Buddhism Human Rights Committee of Korea/ People’s Solidarity for Social Progress(PSSP)/Solidarity for New Society(SNS)/ Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights of Asia/Ansan Human Rights Center/ Nanuri+ HIV/AIDS Human Rights Advocacy Group of Korea/Joint Committee for Migrant Workers in Korea(JCMK)/ Ulsan Solidarity for Human Rights/ Won Buddhism Human Rights Committee/ Net-work For Migrants Rights(NMRS)/ Korean House for International Solidarity(KHIS)/ Citizens’ Solidarity for Human Rights(CSHR)/SARANGBANG Group for Human Rights/Kwangju Human Rights Activities Center/ The Research Institute of the Differently Abled People Rights in Korea(RIDRIK)/ The Solidarity of the Disabled to Obtain the Mobility Rights(SDOMOR)/ Korea Solidarity against Precarious Work(KSPW)/JeonBuk Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights/ WITHOUTWAR/Korean Progressive Network JINBONET/ Catholic Human Rights Committee(CHRC)/Solidarity Peace Human Rights(SPR)/Disabled Peoples’ International Korea (DPI Korea)/Korean Sexual-Minority Culture and Rights Center (KSCRC)