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International protests held against South Korean repatriation policy

The picket demonstrations are solidarity action in support to the on-gong opposition of migrant workers and migrant advocates in Korea.

Source  :  Asia Pacific Mission for Migrant Filipinos

4 May 2002, Saturday
Myong-dong, Seoul Korea

Simultaneous picket demonstrations were held in Hong Kong and Ontario Canada in support of migrant workers in Korea demanding for Legalization and to protest against the implementation of the "Voluntary Reporting Program for Unauthorized Foreigners" (VRPUF) and the heightening harassments and threats against those who are opposing this scheme. The picket demonstration was participated by different nationalities representing various migrant and advocate organizations. Similar protest action was also held in Myondong Seoul, where representative from different unions, and NGO's delivered their solidarity and support statements.

In Hong Kong, the Confederation of Trade Unions (CTU-HK), the Far East Overseas Nepali Association (FEONA) and the Asian Students Association (ASA) attended the protest action gave solidarity messages in the Korean consulate. A petition letter signed by 42 organizations worldwide was presented to the Korean consulate but consulate officials refused to receive the petition letter.

According to Ramon Bultron of APMM, the refusal of the Consulate officials to formally accept the petition letter shows the insensitivity and arrogance of the Korean government towards people in Hong Kong and other parts of the world advocating for the rights of migrant workers in Korea.

The harassments and intimidation being experienced by those against the VRPUF belies the claims of Korea that their President is a human rights crusader, Mr Bultron added.

In Ontario, similar protest action was lead by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) in front of the Korean Consulate. According to John Clarke, the organizer of the OCAP its statement sent to the Equality Trade Union-Migrants Branch in Korea, "We have learned of (Korean) Government's reprehensible crackdown on undocumented workers living in Korea. We wish to add our voice to those who will condemn this conduct".

"Toronto is a city that is estimated to have a population of up to 100,000 undocumented immigrants who have come here from many different countries in search of a decent life. The government here has just established a special squad to hound and deport these people. For this reason, our organization feels a strong sense of support for your (ETU-MB's) cause. As migrant workers, you have created wealth with your labour. You are entitled to have your human rights respected, you deserve economic justice and you have every right to defend yourselves when these things are denied.

"Though the main burden of resisting this attack will be taken up inside Korea, we can at least ensure that people in Canada are made aware of the dirty secret you would like to hide - your denial of human rights and economic justice to migrant workers," John Clarke added.

The picket demonstrations are solidarity action in support to the on-gong opposition of migrant workers and migrant advocates in Korea. A sit-down protest of migrant workers and their local advocates is being held inside the Myendong Cathedral. Likewise similar protests action are set on May 6 and 7 at Ontario in Canada, Melbourne and Sydney in Australia and in the Dhaka Bangladesh and in Manila Philippines in front of the Korean Consulate and Embassy in support of the ongoing struggle for migrant workers in Korea.

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