Declaration of Human Rights to Dignity and Safety

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Declarationof Human Rights to Dignity and Safety


No one will be able to survive. Thesinking of the Sewol ferry on April 16, 2014, was not only an incidentsymbolically demonstrating that the South Korean society itself had alreadybegun to sink but also a disaster that followed numerous other similar ones.Despite the calamity that horrendously revealed contradictions and absurditiesof this society, the South Korean government is trampling on the justice, andSouth Korean presses and media are distorting the truth. Spitting on humandignity and covering up the truth, they say: 'Do nothing and stay whereyou are!' But if we do nothing and stay where we are, eventually no one onthis land will be left alive.


We could not stop resisting insolidarity just to live again as human beings. Standing at the Paengmok Port,in Ansan City, at Gwanghwamun Square, and on all the other streets covered withsadness, we were anxious and agonizing. We shedded tears, talked with oneanother, came out to squares and marched together. While faltering underpersecutions, we nevertheless have been struggling together and recovering ourdignity. Darkness can never overcome the light, and insult can never drive dignityaway.   


All human beings are free and equal inthemselves. Everyone has the right to safe life. Safety is not to be securedthrough controls and repressions. Nor is it to be bought with money. Humandignity realized in liberty, equality and solidarity is the cornerstone ofsafety. We will fight against any unjust force that threatens our rights andsafety by trying to reduce our beings to a mere means to earn profits andmaintain privileges.


Rights never come to us by themselves.They can only be conquered and preserved through our organized struggles. Suchpractices for rights are the very way to democracy and the only way that we,the people, can affirm that we are the democratic sovereign. We will wear theyellow ribbon and raise candles against the forces menacing us and depriving usof our dignity and safety. This struggle that already began in the pain overthe Sewol ferry tragedy will overcome any obstacles to protecting the dignityof each and every one so as to continue to march to our new world ofsolidarity.


With such pledges, we declare oursrights as follow.


1. (Human Life and Dignity) Human lifeand dignity must be secured as the first and foremost priority. Money and powercannot precede human life and dignity.


2. (Liberty and Equality) All humanbeings are free and equal, and never subject to repressions and discriminationsfor any reason.


3. (Solidarity and Cooperation) Everyonehas the right to solidarity. No one can live alone; one''''''''s human dignity can bepreserved only when living in cooperation with others.


4. (Citizens'''''''' Right to Safety and theGovernment''''''''s Responsibility) Everyone has the right to live a safe life and toparticipate in activities to make the society safer. Everyone has the right toknow, reduce and avoid dangers, and the primary responsibility to secure thisright falls upon the government.


5. (The Duty to Rescue) The governmentmust mobilize all its available powers and do its best till the end to rescuepeople in disaster and secure their safety. There should be no discriminationin rescue activities.


6. (The Right to Truth) Everyone has theright to know the truth including the environments and causes that gave rise toa disaster. The investigation committee should be allowed a sufficientauthority and guaranteed its fairness and independence. No cover-ups anddistortions can be tolerated.


7. (Responsibility and RecurrencePrevention) Disaster recovery should be carried out in a just way. Those whoare responsible for the disaster must be punished in a fair and strict manner.The government must come up with recurrence prevention measures in order toavoid similar incidents.


8. (The Right of the Victim) All victimsof a disaster have the right to have their undeserved damages and sufferingsrecognized and respected. In particular, they have the right to receiveofficial apologies and compensations from the government as well asrepresentatives of the party responsible for the disaster. Furthermore, thevictims have the right to participate in the entire process of disasterrecovery.


9. (Healing and Recovery) All victimshave equal rights to receive immediate aids and necessities from the momentthat a disaster takes place. It is the government that is primarily responsiblefor taking active and sufficient measures for the victims'''''''' healing andrecovery.


10. (Sympathy and Action) Everyone hasthe right to fully mourn the death of those who lost their lives in a disaster.Everyone has the right to speak, assemble and act in order to participate inthe victims'''''''' pain and realize justice.


11. (Memory and Record) The communitymust remember victims and record the entire process of the disaster and itsrecovery.


12. (The Right to Resist) If agencies ofpower such as the government, corporations, presses and media violates humanlife and dignity and put safety in danger, all human beings have the right toprotect themselves and struggle in solidarity. 


13. (The Right to Build a Society Basedon Dignity) All human beings have the right to transform a society centeredaround money and power into a new one based on liberty and equality, solidarityand cooperation, human life and dignity.



With feelings of loss and sadness, andwith seething indignation, we hereby declare human rights to dignity andsafety. We promise that we will remember the Sewol ferry disaster, uncover itstruth and set the justice right through our unrelenting practices. We swear aswell that we will pay attention to all disasters, calamities and miseries inthe world and provide our support to them with solidarity. We will not hesitateto reveal what has been concealed and to speak out against the structure ofpower that encroach dignity and safety. This declaration is not to be completedin the text but in the process in which numberless others like us speak, shoutand take actions again and again. Let us hold hands together. Let us acttogether.

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