I think immigration are being dicks here, but…

Greenpeace is suing the government for denying six anti-nuclear activists entry to Korea:

Greenpeace said Monday it has filed a lawsuit against the South Korean government for denying the entry of its anti-nuclear activists, calling it an attempt to “silence criticism of nuclear policies.”

The lawsuit lodged with the Seoul Central District Court on Monday demanded a total of 68.8 million won ($63,762) in compensation for inflicting mental and financial losses by disrupting six staff members’ “ability to conduct their campaign about the risks of nuclear energy and for other damages,” the international environmental group said.

The six tried to enter the country to perform their work and attend a seminar on nuclear power in Seoul sometime between November 2011 and October 2012, but Seoul barred their entry without giving any reason, the group claimed.

Korea turned away three Greenpeace officials at the airport in April, and in 2011 turned away another 25 activists opposed to the construction of the Jeju Naval Base.

You can read Greenpeace’s statements here and here.

Marmot’s Note

Personally, I think the government’s making a mistake here—banning Greenpeace activists probably hurts Korea’s national interests more than letting them in. It makes Korea look ham-fisted and undemocratic.

That said, if there’s one aspect of national sovereignty I hold dear, it’s the unconditional right of nation-states to tell foreigners to eff-off back to wherever they’ve come from. Being let into a country—as a foreigner—is a privilege, not a right. And frankly, I can’t see how anyone can actually sue a national government for doing something so basic to national sovereignty as enforcing the border.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    They should have let them in..and arranged “an accident” to happen to them. Fuck greenpeace.

  • keyinjpop

    America should take note. I say this as an American.

  • RElgin

    If the Greenpeace people were not participating in a protest or interfering in the affairs of South Korean Government, then refusing them entry is dumb and undemocratic.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    How is it undemocratic?

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    I mean, is it undemocratic you can’t vote for the president on South Korea? Its not a right to enter the territory of another country, they can deny you for any reason they can think of, or for no reason at all.

  • Craash beck

    Japan does the same thing to foreigners – especially to Australians…

    The number of times I have had to explain to Japan immigration officials at the airport, that I have no involvement with the Sea Shepherds and I have no plans to go to Taiji – just to pass into the country. I am sure they dispatch someone to follow me.

  • wangkon936

    I say you feed them some delicious whale while they wait for their departure flight.

  • Wedge1

    They couldn’t enter the country and they’re suing about not being able to conduct a political protest? Newsflash: It’s illegal for foreigners to do that. Find a nice, big ocean and hug your whales, watermelons.