Trade union victory in South Korea: release of union leader Dan Byung-Ho
The ICFTU represents 158 million workers in 231 affiliated organisations in 150 countries and territories. ICFTU is also a member of Global Unions: http://www.global-unions.org
Source :  ICFTU
Brussels, 3 April 2003 (ICFTU Online): ICFTU welcomes the release, after 20 months' imprisonment, of Dan Byung-Ho, President of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), one of the two ICFTU affiliates in the country.
"We welcome this release and intend to pursue our international solidarity campaign in support of the continuing struggle by the Korean trade union movement to protect workers' rights, which are too often flouted in that country", stated Guy Ryder. The ICFTU and its regional organisation for Asia and the Pacific (APRO) also immediately contacted Dan Byung-Ho himself, expressing relief at his release and thanking him for the sacrifice he had made in supporting the workers of his country.
In March 2002, Dan Byung-Ho had assumed responsibility for the KCTU's coordination of a general strike: he had appeared in court and had been sentenced for "obstructing business", a charge often used by the Korean government against striking workers. He had been sentenced to 2 years' imprisonment. The ICFTU had immediately denounced the ruling and demanded his immediate release, accusing South Korea of having once again flouted ILO conventions 87 and 98 by restricting the rights to freedom of association, collective bargaining and strike action. A large international trade union delegation had attended the trial as a show of solidarity. Guy Ryder, the ICFTU General Secretary, had gone on to contest the court's decision, stating that: "Dan Byung-Ho and the other imprisoned trade unionists are guilty only of trying to protect the living standards of millions of Korean workers at a difficult time, but they have paid a high price for their action in a country where that legitimate and essential right is illegally flouted.
At the recent 59th March session in Geneva of the UN Committee on Human Rights, the ICFTU had once again denounced the serious trade union rights violations in the Republic of Korea, reminding members that dozens of trade unionists were still imprisoned in the country's jails including, at the time, Dan Byung-Ho.
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