South Korea: BWI urges new President to protect human rights

The BWI has written to new South Korean President H.E. Moon Jae In, urging him to take action to respect human rights as a critical part of developing South Korean democracy. The alls for the release of jailed trade unionists, ratification of the ILO Core Conventions and to implement the recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association following his 2016 Mission to South Korea. 

In calling for the release of jailed trade unionists like KCTU President Han Sang-gyun, BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson noted the recent opinion of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, that “declared Han’s deprivation of liberty arbitrary, because it resulted from the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly”. He continued, “we urge you in the strongest terms possible to implement the recommendation of the UNWGAD by releasing all jailed trade unionists including Han Sang-gyun and begin an investigation.” 

In demanding the implementing of the Special Rapporteur’s recommendation, Yuson notes that “special attention needs to be paid to construction machinery and equipment operators and others who are engaged in ‘special forms of work’ or in ‘disguised employment’ relationships. As the special Rapporteur reiterates, falling back on out-dated interpretations of what constitutes “employment” means a failure of protecting workers’ rights and forging Korea’s economy of the future.” 

“Our South Korean affiliate, KFCITU, has long been on a forefront to eradicate deep- rooted unfair practices and institutions in the construction industry,” Yuson concluded. “If you are as good as your word and implement direct performance requirements and prevailing wages schemes, they will lead to bringing transparency to the construction industry and generating decent jobs.” 

 Click here to access to the letter (in English)