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Friday, July 13, 2012

APPEAL TO INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Dredging barge now operating just off sacred rocky coastline of Gangjeong village.  Endangered soft coral reefs are just below the surface and will surely be destroyed




We appeal to you to
Join an International Action Week For No Naval Base
2-9 September 2012



We appeal to the people of the world who are opposing warfare and are concerned with making the world peaceful and sustainable community.


Please take part in an International Solidarity Action (2-9 September 2012) during the World Conservation Congress 2012 which will be held in Jeju Island.

The 2012 World Conservation Congress, which is an environmental conference held every 4 years by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is to take place from 6-15 September in Seogwipo city, Jeju Island. Jeju Island is located in the southern part of South Korea, adjacent to China, Taiwan, and Japan.

However, in Gangjeong village, which is only 7 km far from the congress site, construction to build a massive naval base is being enforced. The total size of the naval base is 490,000 square meters and it will not only harm the environment but also ignite military tensions despite the opposition of a great number of villagers.

Gangjeong village in Jeju blessed with a natural environment should be preserved for the future of mankind.

Gangjeong village is a coastal town with a sacred environment and high value preservation not only in Jeju Island, but also in the world.

The Sea of Gangjeong village is designated as a national cultural treasure (natural memorial No. 442) by the Korean Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea and is adjacent to Beom Island, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Gangjeong village is God’s blessing natural heritage. The sea of Gangjeong is one of the major habitats of the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, one of the species listed by the IUCN. It is estimated that there are only 114 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins in Korea.

Gangjeong village is located between the two biggest creeks in Jeju Island and has the biggest freshwater fish habitat on the island. It provides 70–80% of drinking water to southern residents in the island. As Jeju Island lacks water due to its porous basaltic land, this uncommon village is nicknamed as ‘Il-Gangjeong’ which means the best Gangjeong village. Due to this character, it has been the ‘heartland of agriculture’ from ancient times. Artifacts from prehistoric times showing the transformation of housing culture have been also discovered in Gangjeong. For such reasons, Gangjeong was appointed as a limited development district until the Jeju naval base construction plan was drafted.

Gureombi rock, located at the Jeju naval base construction site, is a broad flat rock with 1.2 km in length and 250m in width and it forms a greatly peculiar bedrock wetland where spring water comes upward. As Gureombi rock is a part of absolute preservation area by Jeju local government, it is home to the Government designated endangered species such as sesarma intermedium, small round frogs, Jeju saebaengi (native freshwater shrimp of Jeju Island), and clithon retropietus v. martens.

However, the Government is unilaterally enforcing the construction of the naval base without appropriate eval!!uation and even by easing regulations expediently or ignoring them illegally. It is clear that the naval base will not only destroy the environment of the sea of Gangjeong village, but also cause the serious destruction of the environment of UNESCO Biosphere Reserve located just 2 km away from the construction site.

There is no doubt that this construction is entirely contrary to the principals of the World Conservation Congress. The efforts of the South Korean government and Jeju local government to promote Jeju island as a world environmental city, while unilaterally enforcing the construction of the naval base, is deceiving global citizens.



Actions Suggested


1. Please choose at least one day during the International Action Week (2-9 September 2012) and organize any individual or collective actions to oppose the Jeju naval base.

1. Please inform the world that the construction of the naval base in Jeju is fully contrary to the principal of 2012 World Conservation Congress. Please make calls to the World Conservation Congress member organizations and member states to express concerns about the Jeju naval base construction.

1. Please ask the South Korean government and Jeju local government to stop building the military base, revoke the naval base project, and make Jeju Island develop intact as an island of world peace.

1. It is hypocritical for Samsung, the main contractor of the naval base project, to support financially the largest environmental event in the world. Please urge Samsung C&T and Daerim, two main contractors, to stop constructing naval base in Jeju.

1. To spread this amazing event widely, please send your endorsement (with your organization’s name) and your action plans to the Gangjeong international team (gangjeongintl@gmail.com) in advance. After your actions, please kindly send your photos and videos with a simple explanation to the team as well.

1. There are many events being planned in Jeju Gangjeong village during the international action week (2-9 September 2012). If possible, please come to the village and be part of our nonviolent struggle which has continued over the last 6 years.

 

We greatly appreciate for your solidarity. 

The following South Korean national groups endorse the action:

  • Gangjeong Village Association
  • Jeju Pan-Island Committee for Stop of Military Base and for Realization of Peace Island (26 organizations)
  • Korea Environment NGO Network (36 Korean environmental NGOs) 
  • National Network of Korean Civil Society for Opposing to the Naval Base in Jeju Island (125 Korean civil society organizations)

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