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.
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.