As part of their visit to South Korea this week, Renny Cushing, Jennifer Bishop Jenkins, and Toshi Kazama met with Woo Yoon Keun, Chairman of the Legislation and Judiciary Committee of the South Korean National Assembly (pictured above, second from left).
We had a very productive meeting and discussed a number of issues relating to the death penalty in Korea. Chairman Woo shared some of the history and current political context for the effort to pass legislation through the National Assembly to abolish capital punishment. Chairman Woo recalled his meeting last year with MVFHR members Bud Welch and Bob Curley, and emphasized the need to have MVFHR working with Korean victims and the importance of having the voices of Korean family members of murder victims supporting the abolition effort. I handed Chairman Woo the letter from the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty which, on behalf of the 121 member organizations around the globe, praised Korea for marking 5000 days without an execution and supported his work and the work of others to abolish the death penalty in Korea. He was very grateful for the international support for abolition.
Today is South Korea's 5,000th day without an execution, and Chairman Woo, along with other parliamentarians supporting the abolition of the death penalty, will speak at an event at the National Assembly that will highlight that milestone. The EU Ambassador to South Korea, Tomasz Kozlowski, and Renny Cushing will also speak to provide international support for Korea's efforts to advance human rights and abolish the death penalty.