INTERNATIONAL UNION FOR
CONSERVATION OF NATURE (IUCN) BLOCKS
PARTICIPATION BY JEJU VILLAGERS WHO OPPOSE
NAVAL BASE CONSTRUCTION NEAR IUCN
IUCN leadership refuses to criticize Korea's destructive
naval base that is killing numerous endangered species, and destroying
indigenous communities. This stance from IUCN defies its traditional
mission, conserving nature and a "just world."
For Immediate Release
Sung-Hee Choi (Gangjeong, South Korea)
Email address removed
Koohan Paik (Jeju Emergency Action Committee) Email address removed
Save Jeju Campaign website http://savejejunow.org/
Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) World Conservation Congress
is the world's largest environmental event. Held every
four years, the 2012 World Conservation Congress (WCC) will be held from September 6-15 on
Jeju Island, the "jewel" of South Korea. Over 7,000 leaders from government, the
public sector, non-governmental organizations, business, UN agencies and social
organizations will meet at this event.
Meeting just a few
miles from Gangjeong village the IUCN has over and over again resisted requests
from those living in the 450-year old fishing and farming community to help them
protect their sacred nature and coastline from Navy base construction. A five-year non-violent campaign rages in the
village and more than 500 people have been arrested for attempting to block the
destruction of their way of life.
to proclaim its devotion to protecting Nature through democratic process, IUCN
leadership has ignored or whitewashed projects that are assaulting these
wonders, and undermining human rights and sustainable livelihoods.
The naval base project, meant to become homeport for
Korean and U.S. "missile defense" warships 300 miles from China, is threatening
one of the planet's last great soft coral reefs, and other coastal treasures,
killing numerous endangered species (including one on IUCN's famous Red List),
and destroying centuries-old sustainable communities.
The Gangjeong villagers are being met with daily police
brutality. Such activities represent all that IUCN has traditionally
opposed. Samsung corporation
construction division is building the Navy base and has made significant
financial contributions toward the WCC.
On August 22, an
official letter arrived from IUCN leadership informing the Gangjeong villagers
that their request to host a small Information Booth at the convention was
denied. No explanation was offered.
"The Korean government announced that it would not permit
any demonstrations or even picketing within two kilometers of the Convention.
So, no speaker from the village or information table inside. No demonstrations
outside. We are disappointed because we thought the IUCN stood for democratic
participation," commented Sung-Hee Choi, a Gangjeong resident and member of the
International Organizing Committee
Gangjeong villagers continue to press for a chance to
address the IUCN and for a public display booth at the event. Efforts have been made to contact most of the
thousands of IUCN delegates coming to the event and several have volunteered to
introduce resolutions opposing the Navy base.
Villagers intend to invite IUCN members to visit Gangjeong and see the
environmental devastation for themselves.
EMERGENCY ACTION TO SAVE JEJU
Organizing Committee & International Support Group
Global Fund for Women; Korea Policy
Foundation for Deep Ecology;
International Forum on Globalization
Kauai Alliance for Peace and Social
Food and Water Watch, Council of
Institute for Policy Studies
Vandana Shiva, Ph.D.
Navdanya Research Organization for
Science, Technology and
Member, House of Representatives
The David Suzuki Foundation
Actor, founder of Sundance Institute (U.S.)
Author, Women's Media
Massachusetts Institute of
Institute for Food and Development
Policy/Food First (U.S.)
Buffy Sainte-Marie, Ph.D.
Trident Ploughshares, (UK)
Editor, The Progressive magazine
Susan George, Ph.D.
Transnational Institute (The
Tebtebba Indigenous Peoples' International
Policy Research and
Guahan Coalition for Peace and Justice
Eugeni Capella Roca
Grup d'Estudi I ProtecciÃ³ d'Ecosostemes de
Sustainable Chile Project
Korean Federation for Environmental Movement
Citizen Institute for Environmental Studies