G20 Summit: South Korean immigration detains six Filipino activists

Cross-posted from Circanda

MANILA (06 November 2010) – Filipino activists who will attend an event of civil society groups parallel to the G20 summit are now being detained at Seoul International Airport, for still unknown reasons. They are expected to be deported back to Manila tonight.

In a text message relayed to her peers in Manila, Maria Lorena Macabuag of Migrant Forum Asia said: “We were just informed that we are blacklisted by Korean government and that we are not allowed to enter Korea. They also told us that we will be sent back to Philippines tonight. We asked for a written explanation why we are blacklisted. They told us they will get back to us. I think they are in a hurry to send us back home but since we asked for written explanation, they are delaying things.” She sent the message at 6:08 pm.

Aside from Macabuag, other Filipino activists who are currently detained at the immigration section of the Inchon International Airport are: Josua Mata of Alliance of Progressive Labor; Joseph Purugganan of Focus on the Global South; artist Jess Santiago; Rogelio Soluta of Kilusang Mayo Uno; and, Paul Quintos of Ibon.

Quintos has been detained in Seoul since last night. The other five Filipinos arrived in Seoul via Korean Air 622, at 5:10 PM. They were about to attend the People’s Collective Action against the G20 Summit.

In a conversation via Skype, a member of Korea Confederation of Trade Unions disclosed that said Filipino activists are “to be deported tonight and will be forced to take the 9:30 pm flight back to Manila.”

Manila-based activists were able to get a copy of a photograph wherein one of the activists was being manhandled by the South Korean immigration authorities. (See attached photo)

“We condemn this unwarranted hostile act of the Korean government towards Filipino activists who are to engage in legitimate actions of the people, along with the Korean civil society,” said Judy Pasimio, executive director of Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center.

“We will still proceed to South Korea in the coming days to join the international people’s action against these self-ordained governors of the global economy,” said Jean Enriquez of World March of Women.

In today’s news aired by South Korea’s TV network Arirang, President Lee Myung-bak visited the COEX Convention Hall where the G20 summit is scheduled to take place next week and emphasized the importance of full security during the meeting.

Lee told police and security officers that the success of the G20 Summit relies on them stressing that even small-scale violence could damage the entire meeting.

Earlier this week Lee also urged labor and civic groups to refrain from street demonstrations during the summit.

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