Greenpeace court case seeks to end suppression of anti-nuclear voices in Korea

Press release - 2013-05-01
Seoul, 1 May 2013 – Greenpeace East Asia and Greenpeace International today sought to reverse a decision by Korea's Ministry of Justice (MOJ) during the Lee Myung Bak administration to deny entry to six of the organisations’ staff into the country. At the trial presided over by Seoul Central District Court, the legal counsel representing the plaintiffs argued that the MOJ's decision to deny such entry is a violation of legal principles and an abuse of discretionary powers.

Greenpeace says this denial of entry also illustrates the improper influence of the nuclear industry on Korea's political system, and represents a violation of the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by the Korean constitution.

"At the heart of this case is freedom of expression and democracy in Korea. The Park Gyeun Hye government should move away from the heavy-handed approach by the previous administration on people who oppose nuclear energy. Greenpeace campaigners have been silenced for trying to raise awareness about the tremendous risks nuclear power poses to the Korean people, as shown by the Fukushima nuclear disaster's devastating impact on the people and the environment in Japan," said Pino Lee, Campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia.

In 2011, Greenpeace East Asia opened an office in Seoul to run its environmental campaigns. Since then, Greenpeace has been raising public awareness that a Fukushima-type disaster could happen in South Korea due to safety issues in the country's nuclear power plants. Greenpeace, along with national environmental movements, has conducted seminars, protests and public awareness campaigns on the dangers of nuclear energy.

Following the Fukushima disaster, and after a series of scandals and malfunctions at the country’s nuclear plants, public opposition against nuclear energy in South Korea has dramatically increased. Last year alone, the country faced malfunctions at 16 nuclear plants.

Millions of Koreans who live within the 30 kilometer radius of nuclear power plants are at risk from a nuclear accident.

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organization that acts to change attitudes and behavior, to protect and conserve the environment, and promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments or corporations but rely on contributions from individual supporters and foundation grants.