Civic groups advocating on the behalf of families of victims of the Sewol, collectively known as “4.16 Network,” have presented a petition to the UN complaining of the use of excessive police force during protests.
The petition states that excessive force by police caused injury to citizens and that their right of mobility was violated by police barricades during protests on April 16, April 18, and May 1.
In addition, the group claims that the special government committee tasked with investigation of last year’s Sewol disaster has hindered independent efforts to investigate the ship’s sinking. This, they claim, has led to a delay in the disaster’s investigation and is a violation of the families’ rights. UN policy states that it will press for formal investigation and measures to prevent further violation of human rights when such petitions are presented to it.
Meanwhile, an official response by the National Police Agency defending the officers’ actions stated, “During protests on April 18 and May 1, more than 10,000 people occupied major city roadways for many hours and assaulted police officers. Facing violent protests, the officers used the least amount of force possible. We do not believe that our use of force was excessive when compared to [police actions taken in] other advanced countries.”