SEOUL – Church workers in Seoul have condemned plans by rail authorities to kick out onto the streets around 300 homeless people staying in a railway station.
The Korea Railroad Corporation (Korail) announced in July it would remove the homeless people from Seoul Station in August.
“It is inhuman for Korail to expel these people without any plan to help them,” said Fr Elias Lim Yong-hwan, director of Seoul archdiocese’s Catholic Urban Poor Pastoral Committee.
“We will try and help them together with other civic organisations,” he added.
Many destined to be removed from the station are victims of the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
“Korean society has a responsibility to help them,” said Mr Samuel Kang Seong-joon, an activist of the archdiocese’s Catholic Human Rights Committee.
Korail, however, argues there are too many homeless people at the station and are causing problems for travellers.
According to Korail, around 300,000 people pass through the station each day.
About 30-100 people sleep in the station each day. But at least 300 crowd in there when it is raining or snowing, a Korail spokesperson said.
Seoul city authorities plan to send them to nearby shelters, the spokesperson added.
But activists, including those in the Church, say the number of spaces in nearby shelters is not enough and that something has to be done to ensure all of them have somewhere to go. n UCANEWS.COM