06/06/2008, 00.00
SOUTH KOREA
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Justice and Peace Committees against government polices

Some local Justice and Peace Committees criticise government policies for being too focused on economic development instead of the common good, solidarity and life. They demand respect for life and human rights as well as care for the needs of the weak. This includes opposition to US beef imports.

Seoul (AsiaNews/CBCK) – Some Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Committees have issued a statement criticising certain government policies which deem harmful to the public good, insisting instead that the latter and the human person should be the starting point for any government action. Should this change not take place, they pledge strong opposition.

In a statement entitled ‘Communication with people and restoration of morality have priority over economic growth,’ some Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Committees in Seoul said that “Every institution and policy of a nation should aim at the protection of human dignity and life, care for the socially weak, and seek the common good. Instead the new government is pursuing policies that foster social conflicts, fail to go in the right direction and are driven by material considerations which give priority to economic growth.”

For the committees the current social turmoil is the outcome of wrong policies like the agreement on US beef imports, the unviable Grand Canal Project, inappropriate urban development projects, light punishment for corrupt politicians and the Bioethics and Safety Law.

Hence their statement ends by making five proposals, namely renegotiating the agreement on beef with the United states, cancel the Grand Canal Project, rewrite urban development plans to take into account the needs of the poor and the needy, ensure greater impartiality to the legal system trying corrupt politicians and powerful people, and change the Bioethics and Safety Law.

The government and public servants must listen to the demand for the common good, respect life and basic human rights, carry out just policies based on morality rather than uphold any economics-driven view,” said Fr Hugh Park Jeong-woo, director of the Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Committees in Seoul.

Inspired by Deuteronomy, which said “Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live” (Dt, 30:19), Justice and Peace Committees in Kwangju held a press conference last Monday in order to announce their intention to “participate in the boycott movement against the importation of US beef to re-affirm the mission of the Church to protect the dignity of life and natural law.”

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