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Sunday, May 22, 2005

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.

17 Comments:

At May 23, 2005 10:35 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Hey, here's the online petition about Anwar from the IUF. Thought you'd be interested.

http://www.iuf.org/cgi-bin/campaigns/show_campaign.cgi?c=70

Are you a student in Korean Studies btw?
J

 
At May 23, 2005 11:06 PM, Blogger kotaji said...

I've been outed! Yes, I'm doing a PhD at SOAS.

I'll put the link in the main post.

 
At May 24, 2005 6:05 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Yeah I'm doing a PhD at UBC in Canada. Not Korean studies though, Human Geography. Nonetheless, lots of Korean Professors who are friends and good resources. Cho Hee-yeon and Baik Tae-Ung are both here.
J

 
At May 24, 2005 10:52 AM, Blogger kotaji said...

Actually I know a guy called Leif Olsen doing Korean literature at UBC. Have you met him?

I'm hopefully visiting Vancouver this August, maybe we can catch up for a beer (or juice/makkolli/wine etc).

 
At May 24, 2005 6:05 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Sounds familiar. Sure, send me an email (you can send it through the blog) when you are in town. They actually make a dong dong ju around here that is, well, good enough.

J

 
At May 24, 2005 10:02 PM, Blogger Sewing said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At May 24, 2005 11:18 PM, Blogger kotaji said...

Sounds like we'll have to have a Korea bloggers pow-wow in Vancouver or something.

Looking forward to the Dongdongju.

 
At May 24, 2005 11:19 PM, Blogger kotaji said...

Hey Sewing, your comment disappeared, was that you or Blogger?

 
At May 25, 2005 12:42 AM, Blogger Sewing said...

Sorry, that was me. Sometimes I delete messages with the intention of rewriting them; in this case, I got sidetracked and forgot to rewrite it.

Yes, as I mentioned, I'm in Vancouver, too. Let's discuss this closer to August.

 
At May 25, 2005 12:59 AM, Blogger Sewing said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At May 25, 2005 1:21 AM, Blogger Sewing said...

Oh, the joy of comments! The last two I posted only showed up on the "post a comment" pop-up window, but not on the article page itself, which led me to more semi-successful deletions to clean things up. Argh!

Let's try again:

I can't say that you and I are on the same page politically on a number of topics, although I do agree that foreign workers—especially non-Western workers—get a bum rap in Korea.

Anyhow, as Korean Studies was not a part of my academic career, I haven't had many opportunities to meet non-Koreans who have a sincere interest in Korea and its culture. So I'd be happy to meet you (and Jamie) for a drink when you pop by our neck of the woods, and I can have the chance to meet a Korean Studies Ph.D. candidate, no less!

 
At May 25, 2005 1:23 AM, Blogger Sewing said...

You know, even though I do tend to delete and rewrite comments, there does appear to be something wonky with Blogger right now....

 
At May 25, 2005 1:24 AM, Blogger kotaji said...

I'm sure we don't need to be on the same page politically to enjoy a drink (as long as we're not at opposite ends of the book).

 
At May 25, 2005 1:27 AM, Blogger Sewing said...

Well, I'm certainly not as far out there as Baduk!

 
At May 25, 2005 1:36 AM, Blogger Sewing said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At May 25, 2005 1:51 AM, Blogger Sewing said...

There's definitely something wonky with Blogger. 4 messages never made it from the "Post a Comment" window to the article page. I even tried deleting the last one, since the last time I did that, everything suddenly magically showed up on the article page. But alas, no such luck!

Very strange....

 
At May 25, 2005 2:51 PM, Blogger Sewing said...

Okay, now, finally, everything seems to be okay. It's very distracting trying to have a conversation when things aren't showing up properly!

 

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