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South Korea: Respect Freedom of Expression in the Context of Elections

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[English Version]

(Bangkok, 29 June 2016) – The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) strongly condemns the recent police operation to seize and search both offices and staff members of the Citizen’s Network for General Election of 2016 (Change 2016). Change 2016 consists of more than 1000 NGOs in South Korea, including People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), a member of FORUM-ASIA. The police raids were conducted in relation to Change 2016’s campaign during the 2016 General Election in South Korea.

During the General Election of April 2016, Change 2016 conducted blacklist campaigns on candidates and encouraged voters to participate in the election. Change 2016 initiated campaigns in which voters could identify ten worst candidates and ten most urgent pledges of the election. A series of press conferences was held in front of the offices of the unqualified candidates selected by the voters through online platform.

The raids on 16 June were conducted based on a complaint filed by the Seoul Election Commission on 24 April 2016. The Seoul Election Commission argued that Change 2016 violated Article 93(1) of the Public Official Election Act, because Change 2016 held a series of β€˜protest’ condemning specific candidates in front of their offices. Change 16, however, stated that these were not protests, but press conferences, in which the names and pictures of the candidates were not shown and mentioned.

The Seoul Election Commission said that Change 2016 also violated Article 108(1) of the Public Official Election Act, because they considered online campaigns as public opinion poll. However, unlike the usual opinion polls that target specific constituencies, the online campaigns on Change 2016’s website allowed people to voluntarily visit the website and reply to the online campaigns, which made it a legitimate exercise of voter’s right to freedom of expression.

Although the seizure and search were carried out with a proper official warrant, the searches were invasive as information collected by the police was beyond the scope of the search warrant. They confiscated two hard disks and one external hard drive, which were not even used during the General Election period.

It is worrisome that this latest attack on Change 2016 shows political motive of threatening and repressing the legitimate work of South Korean civil society organisations.

β€œGiven the fact that civic space in South Korea has been severely restricted in recent years, this latest incident adds more concerns to the situation. The Public Official Election Act should be engineered to level the playing field for candidates and political parties, not to be used as a state tool to curtail fundamental freedoms of citizens during the campaign period,” says Evelyn Balais-Serrano, Executive Director of FORUM-ASIA.

The then UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of the right to freedom of expression and opinion, Frank La Rue, addressed the same concerns in his 2011 mission report to South Korea, citing that he β€œconsiders criminal punishment for disseminating information in support of, or in opposition to, a political party, candidate, or election issues to be excessive and disproportionate.” (Para. 57)[1] He addressed the same concerns in his 2013 report, reaffirming that political communications must not be hindered by such regulations or laws that hamper robust dialogue and creates a chilling effect in society.[2]

β€œIt is important for all citizens and civil society groups to be able to express their opinion in the electoral context. The electoral laws and regulations should protect their right to freedom of expression and elevate public dialogue to enhance people’s participation and strengthen democratic culture, instead of silencing critical citizens,” adds Balais-Serrano.

FORUM-ASIA strongly urges the Government of South Korea to cease all investigations and ensure that the application of electoral laws and regulations are in compliance with international human rights standards.

About FORUM-ASIA:

FORUM-ASIA is a Bangkok-based regional human rights group with 58 member organisations in 19 countries across Asia. FORUM-ASIA has offices in Bangkok, Geneva, Jakarta and Kathmandu. FORUM-ASIA addresses key areas of human rights violations in the region, including freedoms of expressions, assembly and association, human rights defenders, and democratisation.

For further inquiries, please contact:

Click here to download the press release (PDF)

[1] https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G11/121/34/PDF/G1112134.pdf?OpenElement

[2] www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/…/A%20HRC%2026%2030_AUV.doc (A/HRC/26/30)

 

***

[Korean Version]

λŒ€ν•œλ―Όκ΅­: 유ꢌ자의 μ •λ‹Ήν•œ ꢌ리인 μ •μΉ˜μ  μ˜μ‚¬ ν‘œν˜„μ˜ 자유λ₯Ό 보μž₯ν•˜λΌ.

(방콕, 2016λ…„ 6μ›” 29일) 인ꢌ과 κ°œλ°œμ„ μœ„ν•œ μ•„μ‹œμ•„ 포럼 (ν¬λŸΌμ•„μ‹œμ•„, FORUM-ASIA)은 졜근 μžˆμ—ˆλ˜2016μ΄μ„ μ‹œλ―Όλ„€νŠΈμ›Œν¬ (μ΄ν•˜ 2016총선넷) 에 λŒ€ν•œ 경찰의 μ••μˆ˜μˆ˜μƒ‰κ³Ό μ„œμšΈνŠΉλ³„μ‹œ μ„ κ±°κ΄€λ¦¬μœ„μ›νšŒμ˜ κ³ λ°œμ„ κ°•λ ₯히 κ·œνƒ„ν•œλ‹€. 2016총선넷은 ν¬λŸΌμ•„μ‹œμ•„ 멀버인 μ°Έμ—¬μ—°λŒ€λ₯Ό ν¬ν•¨ν•œ μ•½ 1,000 μ—¬κ°œμ˜ ν•œκ΅­ μ‹œλ―Όμ‚¬νšŒλ‹¨μ²΄μ™€ 지역 ν’€λΏŒλ¦¬ 단체가 κ³΅λ™μœΌλ‘œ κ΅¬μ„±ν•œ λ„€νŠΈμ›Œν¬μ΄λ‹€. 경찰은 2016μ΄μ„ λ„·μ˜ μΊ νŽ˜μΈμ„ ν†΅ν•œ 유ꢌ자 ν™œλ™μ΄ 곡직 선거법을 μœ„λ°˜ν–ˆλ‹€λ©° μ••μˆ˜μˆ˜μƒ‰μ„ μ§€λ‚œ 6μ›” 16일 κ°ν–‰ν•˜μ˜€λ‹€.

2016λ…„ 4μ›”, 20λŒ€ 총선을 μ•žλ‘κ³  2016총선넷은 온라인 μƒμ—μ„œ μ „κ΅­ 유ꢌ자λ₯Ό μƒλŒ€λ‘œ 10λͺ…μ˜ μ΅œμ•…μ˜ 후보 μ„ μ • 및 μ‹œλ―Όμ΄ μ œμ•ˆν•˜λŠ” μ•½μ†κ³Όμ œ10가지λ₯Ό μ„ μ •ν•˜λŠ” μΊ νŽ˜μΈμ„ μ§„ν–‰ν•˜μ˜€λ‹€. 2016총선넷은 이와 κ΄€λ ¨ν•˜μ—¬ 온라인 이벀트 섀문을 ν†΅ν•˜μ—¬ μ„ μ •λœ μ΅œμ•…μ˜ ν›„λ³΄μžλ“€ μ„ κ±°μ‚¬λ¬΄μ†Œ μ•žμ—μ„œ λ‚™μ„ νˆ¬μ–΄ 기자회견 등을 κ°œμ΅œν•˜μ˜€λ‹€.

이에 μ§€λ‚œ 4μ›” 24일 μ„œμšΈνŠΉλ³„μ‹œ μ„ κ±°κ΄€λ¦¬μœ„μ›νšŒ (μ΄ν•˜ μ„ κ΄€μœ„)λŠ”2016총선넷을 곡직 선거법 μœ„λ°˜μœΌλ‘œ κ³ λ°œν•˜μ˜€λ‹€. μ„ κ΄€μœ„λŠ” 2016총선넷이 μ΅œμ•…μ˜ ν›„λ³΄μžμ˜ 지역ꡬ λ“± μ„ κ±°μ‚¬λ¬΄μ†Œ μ•žμ—μ„œ β€˜λ‚™μ„ νˆ¬μ–΄β€™ κΈ°μžνšŒκ²¬μ„ κ°œμ΅œν•œ 것이 곡직선거법 제 93μ‘° 1항을 μœ„λ°˜ν•˜μ˜€λ‹€κ³  μ£Όμž₯ν–ˆλ‹€. ν•˜μ§€λ§Œ μ„ κ΄€μœ„μ˜ μ£Όμž₯κ³ΌλŠ” 달리 μ΄λŠ” μ§‘νšŒκ°€ μ•„λ‹Œ 기자회견 μ΄μ—ˆμœΌλ©°, νŠΉμ • ν›„λ³΄μžμ˜ 이름 λ˜λŠ” 사진은 κ±°λ‘ λ˜μ§€ μ•Šμ•˜λ‹€.

λ˜ν•œ μ„ κ΄€μœ„λŠ”2016총선넷이 여둠쑰사 κ²°κ³Όκ³΅ν‘œλ₯Ό κΈˆμ§€ν•˜κ³  μžˆλŠ” 곡직선거법 제 108μ‘° 1항을 μœ„λ°˜ν•˜μ˜€λ‹€κ³  μ£Όμž₯ν•˜μ˜€μ§€λ§Œ νŠΉμ •ν•œ 지역ꡬ ꡬ민듀을 μƒλŒ€λ‘œ μ§„ν–‰λ˜λŠ” 여둠쑰사 μ™€λŠ” 달리 2016μ΄μ„ λ„·μ˜ 온라인 μΊ νŽ˜μΈμ€ μ „κ΅­μ˜ ꡭ민듀이 직접 ν™ˆνŽ˜μ΄μ§€ μƒμœΌλ‘œ μ°Ύμ•„μ™€μ„œ μ§„ν–‰λ˜λŠ” μ„€λ¬Έ 이벀트 μ˜€μœΌλ©° μ΄λŠ” μ •λ‹Ήν•œ 유ꢌ자의 μ •μΉ˜μ  μ˜μ‚¬ ν‘œν˜„μ˜ μžμœ μ΄λ‹€.

λ˜ν•œ 경찰이 μ„ κ±°κΈ°κ°„ 쀑 μ‚¬μš©λ˜μ§€ μ•Šμ€ 두 개의 μ΄λ™μ‹λ””μŠ€ν¬μ™€ ν•˜λ“œλ””μŠ€ν¬λ₯Ό ν†΅μ±„λ‘œ μ••μˆ˜ν•œ 것은 영μž₯에 μ μ‹œλœ μ••μˆ˜μˆ˜μƒ‰ ν—ˆμš© λ²”μœ„λ₯Ό λ²—μ–΄λ‚œ μœ„λ²•μ΄λ‹€. μ„ κ΄€μœ„μ˜ 고발과 경찰의 μ••μˆ˜μˆ˜μƒ‰μ€ μ„ κ±° κΈ°κ°„λ™μ•ˆμ˜ 유ꢌ자의 ν‘œν˜„μ˜ 자유λ₯Ό μΉ¨ν•΄ν•˜κ³  μ •λ‹Ήν•œ μ‹œλ―Όμ‚¬νšŒλ‹¨μ²΄μ˜ ν™œλ™μ„ μœ„μΆ•μ‹œν‚€λ €λŠ” μ •μΉ˜μ μΈ ν–‰μœ„λΌκ³  밖에 λ³Ό 수 μ—†λ‹€.

ν¬λŸΌμ•„μ‹œμ•„ 사무총μž₯인 에블린 발라이-μ„ΈλΌλ…ΈλŠ” β€œμ΅œκ·Ό λͺ‡ λ…„κ°„ ν•œκ΅­ μ •λΆ€μ˜ μ‹œλ―Όμ‚¬νšŒλ‹¨μ²΄λ“€μ— λŒ€ν•œ 탄압은 민주주의 μœ„κΈ°μ™€ 인ꢌ이 ν›„ν‡΄ν•˜κ³  μžˆμŒμ„ 보여주고 있으며2016총선넷에 λŒ€ν•œ 고발과 κ³Όλ„ν•œ μ••μˆ˜μˆ˜μƒ‰μ€ μ‹œλ―Όμ‚¬νšŒμ˜ μ •λ‹Ήν•œ ν™œλ™μ„ μ–΅μ••ν•˜λŠ” 또 λ‹€λ₯Έ ν•œ μ˜ˆβ€λΌκ³  우렀λ₯Ό ν‘œλͺ…ν•˜μ˜€λ‹€. λ˜ν•œ β€œκ³΅μ§μžμ„ κ±°λ²•μ€ μ‹œλ―Όμ‚¬νšŒλ‹¨μ²΄ 및 유ꢌ자의 μ •μΉ˜μ  μ˜μ‚¬ ν‘œν˜„μ˜ 자유λ₯Ό μ œμ•½ν•˜λŠ” μ–΅μ••μ˜ λ„κ΅¬λ‘œ μ“°μ—¬μ„œλŠ”β€ μ•ˆλœλ‹€κ³  μ§€μ ν•˜μ˜€λ‹€.

이에 μ•žμ„œ2011λ…„ μœ μ—” μ˜μ‚¬ν‘œν˜„μ˜ 자유 νŠΉλ³„λ³΄κ³ κ΄€, ν”„λž‘ν¬ 라뀼의 ν•œκ΅­ λ³΄κ³ μ„œλŠ” β€œκ³΅μ§μ„ κ±°λ²•μ΄ μ„ κ±° μ „ ν‘œν˜„μ˜ 자유λ₯Ό κ΄‘λ²”μœ„ν•˜κ²Œ μ œν•œν•˜κ³  μžˆλ‹€β€κ³  κ°•μ‘°ν•˜λ©° β€œνŠΉμ • μ •λ‹Ή, 후보 λ˜λŠ” μ„ κ±° μŸμ μ„ μ§€μ§€ν•˜κ±°λ‚˜ λ°˜λŒ€ν•˜λŠ” 정보λ₯Ό λ°°ν¬ν•œ ν–‰μœ„μ— λŒ€ν•œ ν˜•μ‚¬ 처벌이 κ³Όλ„ν•˜κ³  λΆ€λ‹Ήν•˜λ‹€β€κ³  μ§€μ ν•˜μ˜€λ‹€. κ·ΈλŠ” λ˜ν•œ μ§€λ‚œ 2013λ…„ μœ μ—” μ΄νšŒμ— μ œμΆœν•œ μ—°κ°„λ³΄κ³ μ„œμ—μ„œλ„ β€œμ„ κ±° 및 ν›„λ³΄μžμ— κ΄€λ ¨λœ μ£Όμš” μ‚¬μ•ˆμ— κ΄€ν•œ 정보와 μ˜κ²¬μ€ 곡개적이고 자유둭게 ꡐλ₯˜λ˜μ–΄μ•Ό ν•˜λ©°, 이λ₯Ό μ œν•œν•  경우 μ‹œλ―Όμ‚¬νšŒ ν™œλ™μ— 뢀정적인 영ν–₯을 λ―ΈμΉœλ‹€κ³ β€κ³  κ°•μ‘°ν•˜μ˜€λ‹€.

ν¬λŸΌμ•„μ‹œμ•„ 사무총μž₯인 에블린 발라이-μ„ΈλΌλ…ΈλŠ” β€œμ„ κ±° 과정에 μžˆμ–΄μ„œ λͺ¨λ“  μœ κΆŒμžμ™€ μ‹œλ―Όμ‚¬νšŒλ‹¨μ²΄λ“€μ€ μ •λ‹Ήν•œ ꢌ리인 μ •μΉ˜μ  ν‘œν˜„μ˜ 자유λ₯Ό λˆ„λ¦΄ 수 μžˆμ–΄μ•Ό ν•œλ‹€β€ κ³  κ°•μ‘° ν•˜μ˜€μœΌλ©°, β€œκ³΅μ§ 선거법및 κ΄€λ ¨ 법령은 μœ κΆŒμžλ“€μ˜ λ‹€μ–‘ν•œ ν‘œν˜„μ˜ μžμœ μ— μž¬κ°ˆμ„ λ¬Όλ¦¬λŠ” λŒ€μ‹ , μ‹œλ―Όλ“€μ˜ μ •μΉ˜μ  μ°Έμ—¬λ₯Ό ν†΅ν•œ λ―Όμ£Όλ¬Έν™”λ₯Ό 곡고히 ν•˜λŠ” 역할을 ν•΄μ•Όν•œλ‹€β€ κ³  μ£Όμž₯ ν•˜μ˜€λ‹€.

ν¬λŸΌμ•„μ‹œμ•„λŠ” λŒ€ν•œλ―Όκ΅­ 정뢀에 2016총선넷에 λŒ€ν•œ κ³Όμž‰ μ••μˆ˜μˆ˜μƒ‰ 및 μˆ˜μ‚¬λ₯Ό 멈좜 것 을 μ΄‰κ΅¬ν•˜λ©°, κ΅­μ œμΈκΆŒκΈ°μ€€μ— λΆ€μ‘ν•˜λŠ” 곡직 선거법 및 κ΄€λ ¨ 법령을 λ§ˆλ ¨ν•  것을 촉ꡬ ν•˜μ˜€λ‹€.

Β Click here to download the press release in Korean (PDF)