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“Let’s Make Our Society a Society of Human Rights by Repealing the NSL”

“Let’s Make Our Society a Society of Human Rights by Repealing the NSL”

Posted September. 16, 2004 22:08,   


Following the “September 9 Declaration on the Current Situation” by conservative seniors, progressive seniors counteracted it by announcing their “Joint Declaration to Urge the Repeal of the National Security Law” in a press conference held yesterday at the Cathedral building of the Anglican Church of Korea at Jeong-dong, Joong-gu, Seoul.

Approximately 70 progressive elders from various fields participated in this joint declaration, signed by the “Citizens Solidarity Group for National Security Law Repeal.” Some 20 seniors, including Han Seung-heon, lawyer and former chief of the Board of Audit and Inspection, Yeom Gong, the head monk of Haeinsa Temple, Baek Gi-wan, and priest Ham Sei-woong, attended the press conference as representatives of the group.

They said in the declaration, “Let’s terminate the history of pain, human rights violations, and oppression by the government to make our society one of democracy and human rights. Changing the National Security Law into a new law is still impairing the significance of the repeal of the law. Therefore, we oppose that too.”

They demanded, “Those people who put citizens under surveillance and oppression are now pouring their words out against the repeal of the National Security Law. They should restrain themselves on behalf of society and its advancement.”

Meantime, the Citizens Solidarity Group for Freedom, which acts as a secretariat office for the “September 9 Declaration,” announced the same day that people should “not confuse the essence of the issue by condemning seniors.”

The Citizens Solidarity Group said in its announcement that “the incumbent government has once again showed its self-righteous characteristic when Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan, following Cheong Wa Dae and the Uri Party, denounced the September 9 Declaration as an ‘anachronism.’”

The group urged, “There might be some who are related to the period of our dark history among the September 9 Declaration participants. However, these seniors played major roles in our passing history, and we should not denounce all of them in one bundle. The government should stop straining with issues of history and focus its energy on the economy and national security.”

Yi-Young Cho lycho@donga.com