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Aug. 17  2018
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Immigration focuses migrant crackdown on JCMK/ETU-MB

The Korean government (as reported by the Korean Times) has issued a warning to foreigners that if they join in any actions to protest the crackdown, they will be deported further demonstrating an undemocratic disrespect for freedom of speech and civil action.

Source  :  Base21



by Nancy Greene/Base21 Media Activist

Since the severe crackdown on migrant workers began on September 1st, at least 50 workers per day have been arrested and detained. The Korean government is concentrating their arrests in geographical areas where the JCMK (Joint Committee for Migrants in Korea) and the ETU-MB (Equality Trade Union-Migrant's Branch) are most active - Ansan, Maseok, Bucheon, and Songnam. This clearly reflects the government's primary objective of destroying organisations that help workers fight for their rights - ensuring a compliant and passive army of disempowered migrant workers who will bow to the unfair trainee system now in place out of fear of deportation.

At least 2 "trainee" workers from Ansan have been arrested and detained that currently have grievances lodged with the labour office for unpaid salaries at their original place of work. One worker (also from Ansan) has been arrested and detained while he was off work due to sickness.

The ETU-MB has made allegations that the two migrant workers from Bangladesh--Kabir Uddin and Mohammed Bidduth (who was allegedly beaten severely during questioning), arrested and detained on Sept. 2 - had their signatures forged by immigration officials so as to expedite deportation. Both of these workers have live complaints lodged with the Korean Labour Office as well as with the Korean Human Rights Commission (contesting the government suppression of freedom of speech after the Ministry of Justice deemed protest by undocumented workers illegal). While these complaints remain unresolved, the 2 men cannot be deported against their will. On Sept. 6, they were enroute to Incheon International Airport to be deported when the discovery of the allegedly forged documents was made by their lawyer and they were returned to the Suwon detention centre where they have been held since Sept. 2 after they were seized from their homes in Maseok.

The ETU-MB also reports that detainees can be released on bail by their employers (and no one else) for one billion won. This directly contradicts the government's policy of summarily deporting "illegal workers" and refects a curious inconsistency.

The Korean government (as reported by the Korean Times) has issued a warning to foreigners that if they join in any actions to protest the crackdown, they will be deported further demonstrating an undemocratic disrespect for freedom of speech and civil action.

While Korea joined the ILO (International Labour Organisation) in 1996, the action remains strictly gestural as it has to date refused to ratify the ILO's most important conventions which guarantee workers the inviolable rights to organise and to take collective action. Moreover, while Korea is a member of the United Nations it engages in labour practices that directly contravene the UN's Convention on Migrant Workers.

Protests against the unfair arrests and deportations continue.

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<Related Site>
 Migrant workers protest government crackdown

[Update] Release Kabir Uddin and Mohammad Bidduth! Stop the witch-hunting to union members and crackdown undocumented migrants in Korea!

Letter petition to South Korean government to release Md. Bidduth and Kabir Uddin
 
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