Breaking News from the Migrant Trade Union, seems they have ended their occupation of the Korean National Human Rights Commission Offices under some pretty favorable terms. Things had been looking tough lately with the detention of one of their leaders, Radhika, however the KNHRC was actually fairly supportive of the migrant activists and in the end came up with a compromise that supports migrant's rights including, and this is pretty unprecedented, full labour rights for the MTU, a union of undocumented workers. How this bodes with other ministries is certain to be important, as other key ministries are strongly influenced by the business groups who hire migrants. But this is a very positive stop nonetheless, one that I haven't seen so much elsewhere.
Here's the update:
Yesterday, December 21st, after an intense round of negotations with theChief of the Korean National Human Rights Commission, the Migrants' TradeUnion of Korea officially ended their 17 day occupation of the Korean National Human Rights Office.
They started their occupation demanding therelease of their union president, Anwar Hossain, and agreed to leave only after securing the following from the KNRHC: First, the KNHRC has promised officially to back the MTU as a legtimate and legal trade union in Korea. To this end, they will lobby the Korean government to register the MTU as an official trade union, thus guaranteeing to the MTU the three most basic labor rights: the right to form a union, the right to collective bargaining and the right to strike. Since its inception, the Korean government has deemed the MTU an illegal organization because its member are living in Korea without a working visa.
Second, the KNHRC as agreed to make a commission on Migrants' Rights- an official branch of the human rights office devoted soley to migrants' issues. In this commission, migrant workers will have representation and direct input into the KNHRC's statements and policies on migrant workers through the MTU.Though they did not secure the release of Anwar, they achieved a great victory for their union.
The MTU thanks everyone for the support they have given over the last 17 days. Your letters and solidarity statements helped make this victory possible. Please continue to send letters to the Minister of Justice and demand the release of our union president, Anwar Hossain. Let's fight together!