Friday, December 17, 2010

The Migrant Trade Union's latest struggle

This pressure has increased recently in the wake of activities MTU carried out to protest the death of a Vietnamese migrant worker who fell from a second story window in the course of an immigration raid. On November 5, MTU and other organizations held a press conference concerning the incident in front of the Seoul Immigration Office, after which participants made a protest visit to the immigration authorities to ask them to take responsibility for the death. President Catuira participated in these activities. Shorty after, on November 23, President Catuira received a summons from the Immigration Service telling him he must appear before the Immigration Service’s investigation team before December 3 to be investigated based on “suspicion of violations of the Immigration Control Law in the course of applying for a workplace transfer and with relation to actual performance of work duties at present.” Inquiry by a lawyer working with MTU has revealed that the investigation team is also planning to raise suspicions that President Catuira is conducting political activities of a nature prohibited under immigration law. If the investigation team finds against President Catuira, he will lose his visa and become immediately deportable.
Via the Migrant Trade Union's website, I've noticed that the immigration authorities are now targeting its president, Michel Catuira, by attempting to get his employment contract terminated for engaging in 'political activities.' You can read the MTU's recent letters and appeals to the UN and ITUC (quoted above) for more background on the case and on the persistent violation of labour and human rights that the MTU fought so valiently against since it was founded almost 10 years ago. I might add that even though the Seoul High Court declared back in 2007 that the government must recognize the MTU, but this has still not happened. And in this case the lack of legal recognition of the MTU is one among many important factors. Sad how there is so much energy put into monitoring and repressing politicized migrants, and little into fixing the immigration system so that senseless tragedies, like the death of Trinh Cong Quan, mentioned above, continue to this day.

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