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The Sewol Ferry Has Finally Been Raised from the Sea

To mark the raising of the Sewol Ferry after being submerged for three years, we are posting a copy of the collective statement that had been signed by many ASCK members in 2014.

Overseas Scholars Demand a Special Law that Guarantees the Power to Investigate and Indict in order to Thoroughly Investigate the Sewol Tragedy:

To Bring out the Truth on the Sewol Tragedy is to Take the First Step toward a Social and Political Transformation that Prioritizes Human Lives and Quality of Life.

More than 100 days have passed since the Sewol Ferry sank with more than 300 innocent lives. It has been almost a month since the victims’ families put their lives at risk by fasting to protest that the government has not taken serious actions to investigate the causes of the tragedy and that the main political parties have evaded their responsibility. Just days ago, the majority leader of the ruling Saenuri Party and the minority leader of the opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy ignored the families’ and the public’s demand for a thorough investigation and agreed, without properly consulting the families, on a special law proposal that was designed to create an impotent special committee. Their proposal pointedly deprived the special committee of the power to investigation and indict, two components critical to an independent and thorough investigation.

If a special committee is formed without such a power, it is likely to reduce the cause of the Sewol’s sinking to problems of a few immoral individuals or corporations, effectively giving an indulgence to the power elites that are hiding Korea’s structural deficiencies and evading their responsibilities for creating and maintaining them. The root causes of the Sewol tragedy lie in reckless neoliberal policies of deregulation and privatization, the administration’s failure to implement a disaster response system and to respond to the Sewol’s sinking in a timely and systematic manner, and interest groups’ collusion with the corrupt system to maximize their profits. A special committee without the power of investigation and indictment would not be able to withstand the combined power of these power elites to unearth these structural causes and bring justice to those responsible. To empower the special committee to bring out the truth is to take the first step to transform the current policy paradigm that privileges corporate interest and government power to the one that priorities people’s lives and safety as well as the quality of life.

We, the undersigned overseas scholars who wholeheartedly support the just struggle by the victims’ families, demand that the administration as well as the Saenuri Party and the New Politics Alliance for Democracy accept the families’ demand to abandon their defunct agreement and institute a special law that empower the special committee to investigate and indict. We shall side with the victims’ families until the whole truths of the Sewol tragedy are brought to light.

August 12, 2014

Scholars Concerned About the Sewol Ferry Tragedy

세월호 참사의 철저한 진상규명을 위해 수사권과  기소권을 보장하는 특별법 제정을 요구하는

해외 학자 성명서:

세월호 참사의 진상 규명은 인간의 생명과 삶의 질을 중심에 두는 사회와 정책을 만드는

첫걸음 입니다.

300명이 넘는 무고한 생명을 잃은 세월호 참사가 일어난지 100일이 넘었습니다. 진상 규명을 위한 어떠한 노력도 하지 않는 정부와 여당, 무책임한 야당의 방기에 유가족들이 목숨을 건 단식을 시작한 지도  벌써 한 달이 되어 가고 있습니다. 그러나 새정치 민주연합과 새누리당의 두 원내대표는 유족과 국민들의 진상 규명에 대한 요구를 외면하고 유족의 동의 없는 특별 법안에 합의 했습니다. 이 합의 안에는 진상 규명에 가장 중요한 수사권과 기소권이 빠져있습니다.

독립적인 수사권와 기소권이 없는 상태에서 조사위원회는 세월호 참사의 원인을 부도덕한 개인이나 기업의 문제로 축소하고 한국사회의 구조적 문제를 은폐하며 책임을 회피하고 있는, 거대한 권력에 면죄부를 주는 역할을 할 것입니다. 세월호 참사는 신자유주의에 근거해 무분별하게 진행되어 온 규제 완화와 민영화, 대규모 위기 상황에 체계적이고 신속하게 대응할 체계를 정책적으로 만들지 않은 정부, 그리고 자신의 이익을 챙기기에 급급했던 이익 집단들에서 그 근본적인 원인을 찾을 수 있습니다. 강력한 수사권과 기소권 없이 조사 위원회가 거대한 권력 집단과 맞서 세월호 참사의 진정한 책임자들과 이와 관련된 정책적, 구조적 문제를 밝혀낼 수는 없습니다. 세월호 참사의 진상 규명은 정책의 패러다임을 기존의 기업 이익과 정부 편의 중심에서 사람의 생명과 안전, 그리고 삶의 질 중심으로 바꾸는 첫 걸음입니다.

이에 우리 해외 학자들은 유가족의 정의로운 투쟁을 적극 지지하며, 정부 여당과 새정치민주연합이 유가족의 요구를 받아들여 합의안을 즉시 폐기하고, 철저한 진상규명의 필수 조건인 수사권과 기소권을 포함한 새로운 특별법을 제정할 것을 엄중히 요구합니다. 우리 해외 학자들은 세월호 진상이 명백히 밝혀지는 그 날까지 유가족과 함께 싸워 나갈 것입니다.

2014년 8월12일

세월호 참사 진상 규명을 위한 특별법 제정을 요구하는 해외 학자들