Update on Anwar Hossein
The Korea Times today has a long and quite fair piece on the detention of the leader of the newly-formed migrant workers' union in Korea, Anwar Hossein. The union is planning to file a complaint with the International Labour Organisation (not sure how much help this will be as Korean unions must do this all the time to no avail). They are also getting support it seems from local NGOs and human rights organisations like Sarangbang. It is good to see that such organisations as well as the KCTU are getting involved and understanding the nature of the problem. As Park Seok-jin of Sarangbang puts it:
"For so many foreign workers here, they have no choice but to be illegal aliens because of the shortsighted employment policy for migrant workers in Korea, which just focused on meeting short-term employment needs. Hossin is one of those victims and we demand the government release him as soon as possible.’’It was pointed out by Kevin Gray of Newcastle University in a paper presented at our recent SOAS Korean Studies Conference that in the past the groups providing support to migrant workers had generally been of a religious (mostly Protestant) colouration. They have generally been supportive of the government's new system of registration and basically seem only to want to ameliorate the conditions of migrant workers in South Korea rather than assert the fundamental human rights of the workers or accept their long-term right to live and work in Korea, let alone struggle collectively for better pay and conditions.
Update, Monday 23 May:
Jamie of Two Koreas informs me of a link to a petition for the release of Anwar Hossein.