On the deportation of AWC-Japan activists from South Korea

Asia Pacific Campaign Network Against US Bases

The Asia Pacific Campaign Network Against US Bases denounces in the strongest terms the recent deportation of two activists from the Asian Wide Campaign against U.S.-Japanese Domination and Aggression of Asia (AWC)-Japan. Such an act bespeaks of a profound contempt the Lee Myung-bak government has for the basic human rights of its people and even those of foreign nationals in its soil.

There is every indication that the deportation of, and subsequent entry ban on the two AWC activists were triggered by their participation in the Jeju Island protests.

The defiant stance of Jeju residents against the building of a US-sponsored military base in their island has inspired strong international support, the AWC included. This has apparently drawn the ire of the South Korean government, and along with cracking down on local protests, it is now curtailing the right of foreign nationals to show their solidarity with the beleaguered Jeju islanders.

It is not uncommon for the Sokor regime to use the iron fist when its lopsided alliance with the US is at stake. Labor protests surrounding the onerous sale of Korean heavy industries to US firms during the past decade were also met with heavy-handed tactics from state forces, presenting the ludicrous spectacle of a government working more for the interest of an imperialist ally than for its own people, whose rights it is willing to violate all too readily in the process.

We call on the Korean people to stand firm against the repressive measures of the Lee Myung-bak government, even as they intensify their resistance against the military base-building in Jeju.

We also call international solidarity activists not to be intimidated by this same government’s Iron Curtain tactics, and to heighten their militance against the South Korean government’s blatant violation of its own people’s democratic rights.

We also condemn the US government’s geopolitical expansionism and insidious efforts to further militarize the Korean Peninsula, thereby provoking North Korea and China and irresponsibly setting the stage for armed confrontations in East Asia.

Patriotic and democratic movements in the Asia Pacific region will always be vigilant against renewed US base-building and will use all forms of resistance to assert their sovereign rights. No to repression of people’s rights in South Korea! Stop military base-building in Jeju Island!

Long live international solidarity!

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