Thursday, December 13, 2007

MTU leaders deported

The article below is from the KCTU's website today. CINA has video and more info here.

Photo : Emergency Committee to Stop the Crackdown on MTU holding the press conference to denounce the forcible deportation of three MTU leaders on December 13th[Photo from Chamnews]

Uregent : Three Leaders of Migrants Trade Union Deported, Morning of Dec. 13!

Early this morning (Dec. 13) President Kajiman, Vice President Raju and General Secretary Masum of the Seoul-Gyeonggi-Incheon Migrants’ Trade Union (a KCTU affiliate) were secreted out of Cheongju Detention Center, where they had been confined since they were arrested in a targeted crackdown on November 27. It has been confirmed that they were transported to Incheon International Airport and deported to their native countries (Nepal and Bangladesh) during the morning hours. This act by the Ministry of Justice is yet a further escalation of its repression against MTU and the organizing of migrant workers in South Korea.

Sequence of Events

On November 27, the three MTU leaders were arrested in a clearly targeted crackdown in an attempt to stop MTU’s union activities. Since then MTU has formed an Emergency Committee and has been carrying out an intense campaign for their release, including a sit-in protest begun on Dec. 5.

MTU and the allies in our Emergency Committee first became aware of the Ministry of Justice’s move to deport the 3 MTU leaders around noon on Dec. 11, when we received a call from the Nepalese Embassy informing us they had sent travel documents to Cheongju Detention Center for President Kajiman and Vice President Raju. Later that night, we also heard that our application for a stay of deportation was turned down by the Ministry of Justice. We therefore moved quickly and dispatched a team of over 20 allies to Cheongju to attempt to block any vehicles that could be carrying the 3 leaders out of the detention center. We were able to block a bus, through the windows of which we could see General Secretary Masum, for several hours early this morning. A brief press conference was held at 7:30am under the belief that we had temporarily succeeded in blocking the deportation.

However, later we heard reports from the Immigration Authorities and Ministry of Justice that at least two, if not all the leaders had been deported. Then, at roughly 8:30am, we received a call from a Nepali person whom had seen President Kajiman and Vice President Raju board a plane at Incheon International Airport and called us on their behalf. At roughly 10:45am, we also received a call from General Secretary Masum, confirming he had been deported as well. It has become clear that all three men were eventually taken out of Cheongju Detention Center in civilian cars through routes of which we were not aware earlier.


The early morning deportation of the MTU leaders confirms even more sharply that the Ministry of Justice is acting to repress the activities of MTU and the independent organizing of migrant workers in South Korea. This is obvious from the Ministry of Justice’s own statement that they had noted not only the union organizing of MTU but also its participation in other progressive struggles. What is more, the Ministry of Justice has broken its promise not to carry out the deportations until the National Human Rights Commission has completed its investigation of the case and made a recommendation. The Ministry of Justice is acting with completely no respect for the labor rights and human rights of migrant workers in South Korea. Its actions represent an attack on not only migrant workers, but on organized labor and all progressive forces in South Korea.

We are also gravely concerned that the President, Vice President and General Secretary will meet more repression when they return to their home countries. Our previous president, President Anwar, was detained and investigated by the Bangladeshi authorities for ‘anti-Korean’ and ‘anti-government’ activities upon returning home earlier this year. We have strong reason to believe that this was in large part due to pressure put on the Bangladeshi authorities by the South Korean government. Given the high likelihood of similar problem now, we are calling on progressive force in Nepal and Bangladesh to do everything they can to block acts of repression by their local authorities.


We are determined not to let the government’s blatant acts of repression intimidate us. Rather, our struggle will only grow stronger, sending a clear message that the organizing of migrant workers to win the rights they deserve will not be crushed. We will continue and expand the sit-in struggle and carry out protests from now to the end of the year demanding the end of repression against MTU and of the crackdown and deportation of undocumented migrants.


Now, more than ever, we need your solidarity. Already, protests actions have been organized in front of South Korean embassies in the Philippines, Nepal, Japan and Hong Kong.

International Migrants’ Day is around the corner on Dec. 18. Many of you have event planned.

-If you do we ask that you add a strong message of protest against the attacks on MTU and on all migrant workers in South Korea.

-If you do not have anything planned, we asked that you organize a demonstration in front of your local South Korean consulate or embassy, shaming the South Korean government for its blatant violations of the labor rights and human rights of migrant workers.

-Please send any pictures of your protests to and

-Please continue to send solidarity statements to and protest letters to the Ministry of Justice, fax: 82-2-503-3532 or 82-2-500-9128.

Wining the labor rights and human rights of migrant workers in South Korea and around the world is our collective task. Let us move forward together strongly!

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