2011: CCA-Delegation auf Chejudo - eine Erklärung
Of the CCA Delegation to Jeju-Island
August 8-10, 2011
On June 15, 2011, in response to Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) information about a Consultation co-organized with the World Council of Churches (WCC) to be entitled ‘Peace and Security in Asia: Ecumenical Response’ and held in conjunction with the CCA Program Area Committee on Justice, International Affairs, Development and Service (JID) meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, on August 1-6, the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) requested consideration of a solidarity visit to be made from CCA to Jeju Island.
The main focus of the solidarity visit was to witness the ongoing resistance of residents of Kangjeong village at the southern tip of Jeju Island to the construction of a Korea-United States Naval Base in the area and to understand the concerns about this construction with the aim of strengthening the international support to the resistance.
CCA received the invitation with interest, set the date for Aug. 8-10 and determined their delegation as:
- Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary, National Council of Churches in India
- Rev. Dr. Alistair Macrae, President of National Assembly, Uniting Church in Australia
- Mr. Carlos Ocampo, CCA Executive Secretary, Justice, International Affairs, Development and Service
The delegation was accompanied by NCCK representatives:
- Rev. Lee Hun Sam, Executive Secretary of the NCCK Justice and Peace Department
- Rev. Shin Seung Min, Ecumenical Officer of the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK)
- Rev. Shin Bog Hyun, Methodist Church Ecumenical Officer
- Rev. Catherine Christie, Ecumenical co-worker with PROK and NCCK
During the visit the delegation visited Kangjeong Village, participated in worship with the community, saw first hand a confrontation between villagers and the police, met with Christian leaders, visited the 4.3 Peace Park and Memorial and participated in a community Candlelight Vigil.
During the visit we identified the following concerns:
- Militarization. The proposed Jeju Island base would constitute an additional military base outside the mainland of the Korean Peninsula. Jeju, like Okinawa, will represent an expansion of the geopolitical influence and military control of the USA, countering China’s growing economic and military influence in north-east Asia. The new Aegis fleet being prepared will add to the arms race taking place in this region. JejuIsland will potentially become a target of military attacks from contending powers in the region.
- The violent history of JejuIsland, within living memory makes this particularly poignant. At the 4.3 Museum we saw evidence of massacres and scorched earth policies that led to the 2005 designation of Jeju as the Island of Peace as a gesture of apology for the events of 1948-54.
- Destruction of environment and community. Kangjeong is a farming and fishing village and the naval base will destroy the livelihood of the farmers and fisherfolks of the area. Residents will be dislocated and social problems will emerge. The marine environment will be severely impacted. In Jeju there are rare plants, animals, corals which led to the designation of Jeju as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. These treasures will be threatened, possibly lost.
We heard that environmental scientists claim that no credible environmental impact studies have been conducted. There is clearly a need for such study and a need for the results to be available for scrutiny.
We also see an urgent need for a comprehensive social impact study.
- Concerns about government policy, processes and police presence. We heard reports that among the villagers more than 90% are opposed to the Base. Authorities claim a mandate on the basis of a meeting with a small non representative group at which only 80 of the 1800 villagers were present. In a democratic nation, a proper consultative process must be followed in any major decision like this one.
- We observed an overwhelming police presence. We are concerned about the intimidating nature of this presence. We are also concerned about cases of arrest and fines. We read an article saying “about 15 villagers have been charged with obstruction of official business and 3 are in jail. 14 villagers have been sued for 290 million won in damages”. We met people currently facing such charges.
We from CCA come from countries which have experienced similar situations through the establishment of military bases, mining projects and other transnational projects where local people have suffered a loss of sovereignty, disempowerment in relation to use of their land and their ability to make decisions affecting their lives (e.g. POSCO development in Orissa, India).
- In light of the aforementioned observations we call upon: The South Korean Government to stop construction of the base.
- The US and other governments to support peace in North East Asia and promote human rights and security in the Korean Peninsula; and to protect the environment and seek alternative models of holistic development.
- Churches and NGOs to pray with the Korean people, to offer advocacy and solidarity support in terms of this issue.
- We heard the cries and pain of the people in the village. We are encouraged by the passion and courage of the people to resist outside forces of destruction.
- We are encouraged to witness the increasing awareness and solidarity support throughout Korea and the international community.
- As Christians we believe that God the Creator calls human beings to be stewards of creation, carers of God’s garden, not destroyers.
- We believe that God’s will is for peace in the world based on justice, and that we should pursue paths that lead to peace between peoples rather than relying on militarization for security.
- We believe that God intends that communities, as far as possible, have power and influence over the direction of their lives.
- We therefore commit ourselves to working for a just peace.
(posted by cbs at Wednesday, August 17, 2011)