Civil society moves quickly to restore freedom of assembly:
Following the Constitutional Court’s ruling against Article 10 that forbids outdoor assemblies, civic groups move to pressure lawmakers for follow-up
Posted on : Sep.26,2009 15:13 KST
Civic and social groups are busily working toward a speedy amendment of the Assembly and Demonstration Law following a Constitutional Court ruling that found Article 10 forbidding outdoor assemblies at night unconstitutional. The court has given the National Assembly until June 2010 to revise the law.
These groups first plan to file notices of nighttime assemblies and then apply pressure on the police. “Given that the Constitutional Court has gone so far as to acknowledge the unconstitutionality of the measure forbidding nighttime assemblies, it remains possible for the police to make flexible determinations even if the law has not been amended yet,” said a representative of Minjunet, an organization made up of some 80 civic and social groups, including Jinbo Corea and the Solidarity of Human Rights Groups. “We plan to start filing nighttime assembly notices in earnest starting sometime around next weekend,” the representative added.
In particular, Jinbo Corea and other groups plan to start by filing formal reports for the “Candlelight Cultural Festival” currently being held at the site of the Yongsan tragedy in Hangang-no 2-ga in Seoul’s Yongsan district. If the police do not allow the nighttime assembly, the groups plan to respond actively by applying for emergency assistance measures from the National Human Rights Commission of Korea or by filing an administrative lawsuit with the courts.
The groups also plan to establish a legal foundation for nighttime assemblies during this regular session of the National Assembly in order to ramp up the speed of lawmakers’ activity toward the passage of an amendment to the Assembly and Demonstration Law. At present, some ten bills to amend the law remain pending in the National Assembly. Of these, legislation proposed by Lawmaker Kang Chang-il, Lawmaker Lee Jung-hee and Lawmaker Chun Jung-bae would allow nighttime assemblies.
“There is no reason to put off the business of legally guaranteeing the freedom of holding assemblies at night that have been confirmed as a Constitutional right,” said Whang Sun-won, head of Jinbo Corea’s Democracy and Human Rights Bureau, added that the group plans to strongly demand quick passage of an amendment by the National Assembly.
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