| August 24, 2006|
President Roh Moo-hyun
Minister of Defense, Yoon Kwang-woong
Dear President Roh and Minister Yoon:
We are writing from the United States representing the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) to denounce your government’s plans to forcibly remove the residents of the farming towns of Daechuri and Doduri from their homes and land. Your government is aiming to destroy all vacant homes and buildings in the coming days. This is an unacceptable and inhumane intimidation tactic meant to psychologically terrorize the towns’ residents.
The rich farmlands surrounding Daechuri and Doduri have sustained local farmers for decades. These lands are set to be destroyed only for the purpose of expanding the U.S. military base.
The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) stands in solidarity with the people in Daechuri and Doduri who are refusing to surrender their homes and land to the planned U.S. military base expansion. A.N.S.W.E.R. is a coalition of organizations in the United States dedicated to peace and justice. We oppose militarization and the right of self-determination for oppressed peoples.
Sadly, we understand that punitive government action against innocent people is nothing new. In May 2006, more than 500 local farmers and activists were seriously injured when 15,000 South Korean police were deployed to the village of Pyeongtaek. The presence of farmers and witnesses in nearby Daechuri and Doduri is essential to prevent more such human rights violations.
The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition demands an end to the forced eviction of farmers and threats against them. We call upon the U.S. and South Korean governments to renegotiate the planned expansion of the U.S. military base, Camp Humphreys, in Pyeongtaek.
The planned forcible displacement of Pyeongtaek’s farmers violates the right to housing specified in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Culture Rights, and the freedoms of body, residence and transfer, _expression and association as specified in the International Covenant on Civil and Politic Rights. The South Korean government has signed both of these agreements.
The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition fully supports the activities of the Pan-S. Korea Solution Committee Against U.S. Base Expansion in Pyeongtaek, comprised of more than 140 member organizations including farmers, labor and other civil society organizations in South Korea, and calls on the U.S. government to end its support for human rights violations in Pyeongtaek.
Sarah Sloan and Ian Thompson
On behalf of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition