Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Press release: MVFHR in South Korea


Seoul, South Korea – Members of Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights (MVFHR) are in South Korea this week to help mark the country’s 5,000th day without an execution and to bring the voices of murder victims’ family members to the effort to abolish the death penalty in this country.

Renny Cushing, founder and director of MVFHR, whose father was murdered in 1988, Jennifer Bishop, whose sister and brother-in-law were murdered in 1990, and Toshi Kazama, the group’s Asia liaison, will address the Korean National Assembly, meet with members of the Legislative and Judiciary Committee, present their stories to church audiences, and hold a gathering with local family members of murder victims.

Although South Korea has retained the death penalty since its independence in 1948, no executions have been carried out since 1997. Death sentences continue to be imposed, however, and executions could resume at any time. Joining a growing movement now pressing for legislative abolition, MVFHR offers the critically important testimony of murder victims’ family members who oppose the death penalty.

“Around the world there is a growing group of family members of murder victims who are saying that we don't want executions carried out in our names," Cushing, a former three-term member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, explained. “We are at moment of global history when the Republic of Korea can take the lead in the Asia-Pacific region on human rights, and I urge members of the National Assembly to vote to end the death penalty and to focus on meeting the needs of crime victims.”

MVFHR has been active in South Korea since 2004, when Renny Cushing first addressed the National Assembly and spoke at a series of public events. In 2010, Bud Welch, whose daughter was killed in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and Bob Curley, whose young son was kidnapped and murdered in Massachusetts, traveled with Toshi Kazama to deliver public presentations, meet with public officials, and meet with family members of murder victims. MVFHR is a member of the Asia Death Penalty Abolition Network and the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.

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