BWI General Secretary visits KCTU President in prison

18 August 2017 07:53


BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson visited KCTU President Han Sang-Gyun today at the Hwasung Correctional Institution for Vocational Training in Seoul, South Korea. Yuson expressed support and solidarity of BWI and its affiliates throughout the world.    

"It was an honour to meet Han Sang Gyun again and pass on the BWI's unwavering support for the KCTU struggle," said Yuson after the meeting. "He is in good spirits and expressed his deep gratitude for the ongoing display of international solidarity for his case. The BWI and the global trade union movement is committed to supporting his release, and we are working hard to achieve Justice for Han."

During their short discussion which lasted only 12 minutes, President Han stated that South Korea's new President Moon Jae-in needs to address, "the injustices that have been dealt to workers in recent decades and accept the demands of the South Korean trade unions including the ratification of ILO Core Conventions 87 and 98 to demonstrate the new administration's commitment to labour rights."  Han further added that, the new government needed to ensure that, "the more than 2.5 million bogus self-employed workers, many in the construction sector  should be legally recognize as workers and therefore be granted full rights as regular workers." 

When Yuson noted that the global trade union movement is aggressively campaigning for his release, President Han noted that he was not the only trade unionists in jail.  "I am not the only one here.  There are many political prisoners including trade union leaders and activists who are currently imprisoned.  It is important for the international community to also call for their release."

Since December 2016 Han has been serving a politically-motivated three-year prison sentence for defending trade union rights. The sentence has been condemned as a violation of the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining by multiple United Nations bodies, human rights organisations like Amnesty International and the International Federation for Human Rights, and trade union organisations the world over, including the BWI.

Han was awarded the AFL-CIO's George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights award last month and in May of this year he was honored with the Febe Velasquez Trade Union award by the Dutch union, FNV. Last week the FNV conducted a demonstration in front of the South Korean mission calling for the immediate release of Han.