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Should Korea Dispatch Troops to UNIFIL?
Korean NGO calls for accountability on UNIFIL dispatch
PSPD (pspd1994)     Print Article 
Published 2009-07-01 11:56 (KST)   
This article is lightly edited.
The full article from OhmyNews Korea can be found here.
  <Editor's Note>
The People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD) submits a written statement on the bill which extends the dispatch of Korean troops to UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon). The Korean government has dispatched its troops of 359 soldiers to Lebanon as part of a UNIFIL operation since July 2007. The mission was extended in July 2008 and this is the second request for extension.

The re-extension bill submitted to the National Assembly does not provide sufficient information necessary to approve or disapprove the extension. The National Assembly requested an evaluation report about activities of the Korean troops in Lebanon when the extension bill was submitted in 2008. However, the Lee Myung-bak government has still not provided information nor an evaluation report.

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The Lee government has to provide information about the troops' accomplishments, effectiveness of the dispatch, and current circumstances of Lebanon to the National Assembly and the Korean people before requesting the extension. Then, the National Assembly should closely examine missions, scale, and costs before dispatching the troops to Lebanon before approval.

The peacekeeping operation of the UN and the international community has failed to deter Israel from launching several attacks, which have caused injuries and deaths of civilians as well as of soldiers in Lebanon. The implementation of the Resolution 1701 of the UN Security Council including disarmament of the armed groups in Lebanon, demilitarization of the Blue Line and withdrawal of the Israeli armed forces from Lebanon has been hardly achieved.

The Israeli government has provided the cluster bomb map to the UN. Israel used 4 million cluster bomblets on Lebanon during the 33 day war with Hezbollah militants in Lebanon in 2006. About a quarter did not explode and left-over munitions have killed or maimed about 300 civilians.

Kidnapping and killing Korean civilians in Yemen have repeatedly occurred. Indiscriminate killings of civilians should never be tolerated. However, one reason behind targeting Korean people by terrorists is the imprudent dispatch of Korean troops based not on a close examination of the causes and effects of conflicts in that region but on grabbing interests and alliance with the US.

Although dispatch of troops overseas should be deeply considered and closely examined, both the Korean government and the National Assembly have customarily dispatched Korean troops without a proper examination. Now, the National Assembly must comprehensively review the policies regarding the dispatch of the Korean troops.

The Korean government must seek effective and appropriate alternatives rather than ill-considered dispatch of troops if the government truly intends to contribute to peace in the Middle East region.
Founded in 1994 by more than 200 members, the People셲 Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD) is a civil organization dedicated to promoting justice and human rights in Korean society through the participation of the people. PSPD has been serving as a watchdog against the abuse of power.
©2009 OhmyNews

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