Monday, September 3, 2012

Robert Redford: Tell Environmentalists & IUCN: No Base on Jeju Island

Via Robert Redford & Save Jeju Now:
From: Robert Redford
To: All of your people
Subject: Tell Environmentalists & IUCN: No Base on Jeju Island

Dear Friends of Jeju Island,

From September 6-15, some 10,000 environmentalists will converge on Jeju Island to attend the World Conservation Congress (WCC) organized by the oldest environmental organization, the International Union of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The IUCN’s slogan is that it promotes “a just world that values and conserves nature.” If recent actions are any indication, nothing could be further from the truth.

The WCC will take place only a few minutes away from Gangjeong where the construction of a naval base is threatening one of the planet’s most spectacular soft coral forests and other coastal treasures, assaulting numerous endangered species and destroying a 400-year old sustainable community of local farmers and fishers.

Unfortunately, the IUCN leadership has ignored or whitewashed the naval base.

Instead of condemning the South Korean government’s actions, IUCN Director-General Julia Marton-Lafevre praised its seriously flawed “Environmental Impact Assessment” (EIA) for the base project, which ignored critically endangered species, missed crucial impacts upon 40 species of soft coral, including nine that are seriously endangered, and five that are already protected by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). This naval base is being built just 0.13 miles from a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Tiger Island.

Take action now and sign this petition to the IUCN Director-General, Julia Marton-Lefevre urging the IUCN to condemn the base construction.

While Gangjeong villagers trying to protect their treasured natural resources are subjected to daily police beatings and arrests, the IUCN has still failed to acknowledge the environmental or human-rights violations. One can’t help but wonder if this is because the WCC convention is partly financed by the very corporations building the military base, notably Samsung. Learn more about how you can help support an independent EIA and the villagers' struggle at

Instead of inviting dialogue, the IUCN conference organizers have suppressed it. In an official letter from IUCN leadership – with no explanation -- it blocked the villagers from even having a small information booth at the conference.

You can help give voice to the Gangjeong villagers who have been beaten and silenced by their own government, and now kept out by the world’s largest environmental organization. Add your name to this letter to IUCN Director-General, Julia Marton-Lefevre, to be hand delivered by Gangjeong village Mayor Kang Dong-kyun at the IUCN Congress.

For peace and protection of our planet,

Robert Redford

Actor, Director and Environmental Activist

P.S. Gangjeong village Mayor Kang Dong-kyun needs thousands with him when he delivers the petition to the IUCN Director General. Take one minute now and stand with him and the villagers fighting for the endangered species, coral reefs and their 400-year ecologically sustainable village! Petition:
(Christine Ahn's "Environmentalists Miss Chance to Protest Base" published at Foreign Policy in Focus in July provides background on this military land grab and environmental devastation at Jeju Island)

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