Migrante denounces arrest, crackdown on migrant leaders, ‘undocs’ in South Korea

Dec. 14, 2007

The crackdown against undocumented workers and migrants in South Korea recently intensified with the arrest of top officials of the Migrants Trade Union officials in that country, says an alliance of groups composed of OFWs and their families.

We strongly condemn the unjust arrest of the Seoul-Gyeonggi-Incheon MTUs President, Vice-President and Secretary-General. Clearly, the South Korean government wants to silence all forms of protest against its fascist and repressive crackdown on undocumented workers, says Connie Bragas-Regalado, Migrante International Chairperson and head of the International League of People’s Struggle’s Study Commission on Migrants, Refugees and other Displaced Persons.

The arrest of the three officials last November 27 comes as the South Korean Immigration Control Office proposes revisions to the immigration law that will allow for the brutal crackdown of undocumented workers. If approved, warrants of arrest and deportation orders may no longer be needed to arrest and deport undocumented workers. Earlier this month, the immigration law was already revised to allow agents to question migrant workers based on suspicion alone.

Since August this year, the South Korean government has carried out a massive crackdown in its bid to reduce the number of undocumented workers in that country. There are approximately 1 million foreign workers in South Korea with about 230,000 undocumented.

Despite such brutal attempts to silence opposition against South Korea s barbaric treatment of migrants, we raise high our voices and fists in protest. We support international calls for the immediate release of the three officials and an end to the gross violation of migrants rights, added Bragas-Regalado. Migrante has member organizations in South Korea under KASAMMA-KO.

The number of OFWs deployed to South Korea last year was 13, 984 or 40% more than the 9, 975 deployed in 2005. According to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, there are an estimated 47,150 overseas Filipinos in South Korea .

The MTU was established in 2004 as part of the effort to uphold and advance migrant workers rights. It is affiliated with the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions.

As part of the global protests against the arrests, repression, crackdown and deportation of migrant workers, Migrante International will also forward and circulate protest letters to South Korea s Ministry of Justice, Mr. Jung Seong-Jin, she concluded. #

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