Wednesday, November 28, 2007

International solidarity with the MTU

KCTU/MTU call for action

[Photo : Emergency demonstration was held at the Seoul Regional Immigration Office on November 27th. A member of MTU was holding a picket, demanding "Free the MTU President, Bro. Kajiman and Vice-President Raju".]

Urgent Call for International Solidarity

Migrants’ Trade Union Leadership Arrested on November 27th.
Stop the Repression against KCTU affiliate Migrants’ Trade Union!
Free President Kajiman and other Imprisoned Union Officers!
Stop the Crackdown and Deportations!

1. Background

On the morning of November 27, MTU President Kajiman, Vice President Raju and General Secretary Masum were arrested, in what was clearly a targeted crackdown against the leadership of MTU. We, the KCTU and the Seoul-Gyeonggi-Incheon Migrants’ Trade Union call on the international labor and human rights community to do whatever in their power to secure the release of the MTU leadership and end this labor repression against MTU.
At roughly 9:20am on November 27, President Kajiman was leaving his home in order to attend a plan protest in front of Seoul Immigration Office when he was confronted by more than 10 immigration officers who had been hiding in front of his house. The immigration officers restrained the Korean activist with President Kajiman and then encircled the president. After protesting strongly, President Kajiman was eventually arrested, his shoulder hurt in the process.
General Secretary Masum also left his house the morning of the 27 in order to attend the protest in front of Seoul Immigration. As he walked down the street he was passed by four 4 large men who were laughing amongst themselves. He originally did not pay attention to them; however, immediately after roughly 10 immigration officers came up from behind him. He was suddenly surrounded by nearly 20 people and despite protesting was eventually arrested.
At roughly the same time Vice President Raju was confronted by 4 immigration officers in front of the factory where he worked. Upon seeing the vice president, the immigration officers immediately attempted to handcuff him, but failed due to his forceful protest. When Vice President Raju demanded to see the officers’ identification cards, they presented them along with a prepared detention order. Despite his protests the vice president was also eventually arrested.
Soon after all three men were sent to a detention center in Cheongju, Northern Choongjeong Provience, south of the capital Seoul.

2. Clear Labor Repression

The simultaneous arrest of three MTU leaders, is a clearly a targeted attack, planed in timing with an intensification of the crackdown against undocumented migrants in South Korea. Since the beginning of August of this year, the government has carried out a mass-scale crackdown in an attempt to reduce the number of undocumented migrants in the country. During this time more than 20 MTU members and officers have been arrested.
By their own admission, despite this crackdown, the numbers have not significantly decreased. Thus, Immigration Control has stepped up the crackdown in the last several weeks. At the same time a proposal is being put forth to revise South Korea’s immigration law to make it completely legal to carry out the crackdown continuously without any procedures, such as requiring warrants or detention orders, to protect the human rights of the people it targets. The government has clearly stepped up its repression against MTU leadership at this moment in order to get rid of the force that has been at the forefront of the struggle against the crackdown.

3. Call for Solidarity

We, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions and affiliate the Seoul-Gyeonggi-Incheon Migrants’ Trade Union, make an urgent appeal to you to do whatever you can to support our struggle to free the arrested union leaders and end the barbaric crackdown underway in South Korea.

In particular we are calling for protest letters to the Ministry of Justice, Minister Jung Seong-Jin +82-2-503-3532 or +82-2-500-9128.

Please be sure to send a copy to KCTU by +82-2-2635-1134(fax) or e-mail at

We wish you also to know that KCTU and MTU are by no means deterred by this attack. MTU has already selected a temporary leadership and we have already planned protests for the next days. We are currently making further preparations and will mobilize every means possible to win the release of MTU’s leaders.

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact:

Lee Changgeun
International Executive Director
Korean Confederation of Trade Unions
Tel.: +82-2-2670-9234 Fax: +82-2-2635-1134
E-mail: Web-site :
2nd Fl. Daeyoung Bld., 139 Youngdeungpo-2-ga, Youngdeungpo-ku, Seoul 150-032 Korea

Liem Wol-san
International Coordinator
Seoul-Gyeonggi-Incheon Migrants' Trade Union(MTU)-affiliated to KCTU
Tel : +82-2--2285-6068
Email: Website:


Mr. Jung Seong-Jin
Minister of Justice
Seoul, South Korea

Dear Minister Jung,

On the morning of November 27 between 9:00 and 9:30, the president, vice president and general secretary of the KCTU affiliate, Seoul-Gyeonggi-Incheon Migrants’ Trade Union, were arrested, each in front of his separate home or workplace. This event has already received international attention. It is clear from the form in which the arrests took place that this was a targeted crackdown meant to silence MTU and the opposition struggle it has lead against the anti-human rights crackdown being carried out against undocumented migrants in South Korea. That this was a meditated act of repression is also apparent from the fact that the arrests came at the same time as the South Korean Immigration Control Office is stepping up its crackdown and a proposal is being put forth the revise immigration law to make it possible to carry out the crackdown continuously with complete disregard for the most basic procedures to protect human rights.

The arrests of the MTU leadership is a gross violation of human rights and a horrendous act of labor repression which targets not only migrant workers and MTU but also the KCTU, the 15 million workers it represents and the international labor community. As such, we will not remain silent.

We therefore forcefully call on you to meet the following demands:
-Immediately release President Kajiman, Vice President Raju and General Secretary Masum!
-Stop the targeted crackdown and labor repression against MTU!
-Stop the crackdown and deportation of undocumented migrant workers!


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