The BWI is demanding the new South Korean President Moon Jae-In to immediately release Han Sang Gyun, President of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) who has now been imprisoned for more than 700 days.
Han was imprisoned on 10 December 2015 (International Human Rights Day) for organising mass demonstrations against regressive labour reforms that would have cut workers’ wages and conditions, and for demanding the resignation of the then anti-worker Park Geun-hye Government.
Under his leadership, the KCTU played an instrumental role in resisting labour reforms and overthrowing the Park Government. Han himself, however, remains in prison without due cause.
Human rights organisations across the world have condemned Han’s imprisonment. Recently, the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association has requested the South Korean Government “take any measures in its power for the release of Mr. Han and all other trade unionists”. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention labelled it arbitrary because it resulted from the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, calling for his immediate release and compensation.
Presidents Moon and Han have a lot in common. Both have spent their lives striving to protect human rights. Now it is time for President Moon to put his commitment into action, by granting a special pardon and immediately releasing Han, so he can continue his work defending workers’ rights across South Korea.
Make your voice heard by adding your name to the below Action Alert to call for the immediate release of Han Sang Gyun.
Dear President Moon Jae-In,
We are writing to you to demand the immediate release of KCTU President Han Sang-Gyun.
President Han has now been imprisoned for nearly two years simply for exercising his democratic right to freedom of association and peaceful assembly.
In exercising these rights, Han was calling attention to proposed polices that would have made work less secure and wages lower for millions of South Korean workers.
As the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has noted, President’s Han’s deprivation of liberty is arbitrary because it results from the exercise of these rights. They have called for his immediate release and compensation.
The ILO Committee on Freedom of Association has also called for the South Korean Government to “take any measures in its power for the release of Mr. Han”.
Mr. President, we know that you have expressed a deep commitment to human and worker rights.
We therefore ask you to take action now and use your authority to immediately pardon and release Han so he can spend Christmas with his family, before continuing his work defending workers’ rights across South Korea.