18 May 2018: The BWI welcomes the news that Han Sang Gyun, former President of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions KCTU will be released on 21 May 2018 at 10:00 am (GMT+9) on parole. He has now served two-thirds of his three-year prison term after being convicted on final appeal last May.
We are extremely pleased that Han Sang Gyun, who is recognized globally as a strong and committed trade union leader fighting for workers’ rights, will be released next Monday, stated Ambet Yuson General Secretary of BWI.
He continued, “I look forward to meeting him in person once again to discuss and strategize as to how we can strengthen the global trade union movement amidst the challenges and difficulties workers are facing with neo-liberal policies, labour law reforms, lack political democracy and attacks on trade union rights.”
In 2015, Han led the KCTU national mobilization against labour law reforms during the administration of former President Park Geun Hye. Park would later be impeached on 9 December for corruption and abuse of power. The prosecution charged Han with obstruction of general traffic, special obstruction of public duty of the police, destruction of public goods, and violation of Act on Demonstration and Assembly for his leading role in the mobilization.
Han’s sentence had 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.
Since Han Sang Gyun’s imprisonment, BWI affiliates throughout the world participated in a series of actions ranging from rallies, petitions, letter-writing campaign, and global day of action for the release of Han. His release will be welcomed by his family and fellow trade unionists and supporters in South Korea and globally.
Former President Han was awarded several prestigious human rights and labour rights awards including the George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award and the FNV Febe Velasquez Trade Union award.