Stop the Crackdown on Migrant Workers!
Members and local friends of the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB) and Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) trooped to the South Korean Consulate in Hong Kong today to condemn the recent assaults by the Korean government on Migrants Trade Union.
Also joining the protest action were Koreans from the E-land Trade Union and the labour committee of the People’s Solidarity for Social Progress. E-land workers are currently in Hong Kong to oppose the listing of the company’s Chinese subsidiary in the HK Stocks Exchange because of exploitative and repressive practices of the said company in Korea.
On May 2, Torna Limbu and Abdus Sabur, president and vice-president of MTU, respectively, were forcibly taken by members of the South Korean Immigration and detained at the Cheongju Detention Center, 2.5 hours south of Seoul.
Limbu was forcibly taken in front of the MTU Office at 8:20PM while Sabur was nabbed from his home earlier that day.
“This assault on the leaders of MTU is an obvious plot by the South Korean government to systematically suppress and crackdown on the growing migrant movement in South Korea,” said Dolores Balladares, AMCB convenor and chairperson of the United Filipinos in Hong Kong.
According to Balladares, the Lee Myeong-bak regime has reared its ugly head by blatantly exposing its policy of repression and union-busting against migrant workers and continued crackdown of undocumented migrants in South Korea.
This new regime, she added, only aims to continually deny the trade union status of MTU reasoning that undocumented workers, which composed mainly the MTU membership, do not have rights and consequently should not belong to a union. “Undocumented migrants are not criminals,” she stressed.
Although the MTU won the legal case for recognition of trade union status in the Seoul High Court last February 1, 2007, the Ministry of Labor and other elements of the government appealed to the Supreme Court for the repeal of the High Court’s decision.
“The Lee Myeong-bak regime is one of the most oppressive and most anti-migrant governments in Asia, if not the most,” said Ramon Bultron, APMM director. “It is very ironic, hypocritical and ruthless of this regime to not only deny but intently dehumanize and violate the migrant workers, of whom it continues to exploit and oppress for more economic benefit.”
Instead of ratifying the International Convention for the Protection of Migrant Workers and Their Families and creating laws and policies that shall legalize undocumented workers and recognize the right of migrant workers to practice their democratic and political rights, the South Korean government, furthered Bultron, only ups the ante of suppression and rears its ugly fascist head.
“We will continue to express solidarity with the leaders and members of MTU and support for their outstanding calls: the immediate release of Limbu and Abdus, the recognition of MTU’s legal union status and the legalization of undocumented migrant workers. We will continue to hound the South Korean government and call on the international community to put pressure on them until they heed these just demands,” concluded Balladares.
The ongoing online petition was signed by various organizations and individuals from Hong Kong and handed to the representative of the South Korean consulate to conclude the picket protest.#
Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM)
G/F, No.2 Jordan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR