2012 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Award Ceremony for Fr Mun Jeong Hyeon will be held on the evening of 18 May 2012 at 7pm. The award ceremony will take place at the Daedong Hall on the Second Floor of the 5·18 Memorial Culture Hall. For more information please call 010-2501-7409 All are welcome and invited to attend the ceremony!
2012 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights Award Ceremony - Fr Mun Jeong Hyeon
Fr Mun Jeong Hyeon's many years as an activist opposing militarism on the Korean peninsula and standing up for the rights of the oppressed and for victims of state violence makes his life read like a modern history of Korea. A Catholic Priest, he is known as a 'street father' because of his support for the marginalised.
It is the first time a Korean individual person has been awarded the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights since the international human rights prize began being awarded from Gwangju in 2000. The 2012 Gwangju Prize Committee in their citation awarding Fr Mun the prize write: "The Catholic Priest Mun Jeong Hyeon has demonstrated his consistent commitment to peace and justice during his life time. His concerns have ranged from his involvement in fighting against the 1970's dictatorship where the authoritarian regime carried out extrajudicial killings, to the 1980's military junta, to the struggle against the navy base at Gangjeong, Jeju till this day. This member of the Catholic clergy has resisted against injustice and abuse of state power, while encouraging the socially disadvantaged and conducting environmental and peace movements."
Giving some of the background of Fr Mun's work the prize committee that, "starting from his leading role in the establishment of the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice in 1974, he participated in the hunger-strikes and rallies for a Democratic Constitution in 1986, worked as a people's representative in public action against SOFA in 1999, worked as a co-representative for the shutdown of the U.S. army weapons testing area, struggled against the dispatch of Korean troops in 2003 and worked against the enlargement of U S military basis in Pyeongtaek. In 2009 he was one of the first people who rushed to encourage the Korean bereaved family members who were struggling for justice and fought for the fact-finding efforts and for punishment of the perpetrators while conducting Catholic Mass for the victims. At present he is continuing resistance against the U.S. naval base with the Gangjeong villagers in pursuit of peace and a sustainable life."
In April, Fr Mun suffered multiple fractured vertebrae and other serious injuries after losing his balance and falling 5 metres from a concrete tetrapod while protesting against the forcible construction of the Gangjeong navy base and the destruction of the Gureombi rock which is ongoing. While younger persons have suffered paralysis from shorter falls, Fr Mun, 71 years old, miraculously walked out of hospital after just a few weeks, even finding time to stop and visit another protester being held in the Jeju prison. While all remained concerned about Fr Mun's health following his fall, we are looking forward to his visiting to accept the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights on the anniversary of the May 18 1980 uprising.
Come and show your support for Fr Mun at the award ceremony on May 18!