Taking the example of Korean sex workers, community protesters got up on stage today in the plenary with facemasks symbolising the silencing of the voices of the communities, and read a list of demands to the organisers and UNAIDS.
We are appalled at the failure of the AIDS Society of Asia and the Pacific, the Local Organising Committee and the UN in predicting, preventing and effectively intervening in the violence that took place on the 27th of August 2011. We note that the UN has yet to make any public statement about the police violence on the first day of ICAAP.
While there have been apologies and assurances regarding the safety and security of South Korean participants of ICAAP, reports continue to circulate of potential civil and criminal action including charges for alleged damages to the Bexco and PCO. In the case of at least one person, the criminal case seems to still be pending and there is no assurance by the police to this person that the case will be dropped. The fact that meetings with the Busan police and Bexco security were held without us, despite the commitment to do so has made us question the commitment and sincerity of the Conference organizers in responding to the police violence.
Given these actions, we cannot help but view the assurances given so far as a stalling tactic and that Korean activists may face harassment and police action once international delegates have left ICAAP.
We have here five demands for the organisers to address the grievous consequences of their failure to predict, prevent and intervene effectively in the violence.
- Assurance that the security, the police, Bexco and ICAAP organisers will be made to destroy all the photos and footage including CCTV footage and identifying personal information like social security numbers and addresses that they have collected and a direction to them to maintain confidentiality under all circumstances.
- A direction shall be given to the police to cease and desist from all threats of civil and criminal actions against individual activists and using the said threat as an excuse, knowingly or unknowingly, to disclose the marginalized status of individuals.
- In the absence of any anti-discrimination law, an assurance that none of the participants of ICAAP will be discriminated against or harassed by the police or Bexco or any other authority.
- An independent investigation such as by the National Human Rights Commission into the persons within Bexco security and the police who are responsible for the incidents of violence and human rights violations and under what authority or whose directions the actions were taken.
- Ensure the safety and personal security of all participants of ICAAP during and after ICAAP.
We call on Myung-Hwan Cho, Chair ICAAP10 LOC, Zahid Hussein, President of ASAP and representatives of the UN and Global Fund to come forward right now, in this room and assure us that they will pursue these five specific demands with all their energy and provide their personal guarantees of the personal safety and security of our South Korean friends and colleagues.