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by no chr.! Friday, Jun. 10, 2005 at 9:35 PM stop the process of deportation of A. Hossain, the representative of KCTU/MTU


On Saturday, May 14 at one AM, Anwar Hossain (chief of the Migrant worker Trade Union), long targeted for capture by Korean Immigration for his union activism, was ambushed by between 25 and 30 immigration officers as he was returning home after a union meeting. He sustained head injuries as well as temporary paralysis of his left hand.

Since 1990, Korea had imported cheap labour from developing countries as trainees. Lacking worker rights and prey to all manner of exploitation and abuse, the majority of workers fled their workplaces resulting in the current situation where roughly 80% of all foreign workers are undocumented. When the new system for importing cheap labour, the Employee Permit System, was introduced in 2003, it failed to cover this working majority and since that time a vicious crackdown has relentlessly taken place with the Korean government vowing to deport all overstayers. Moreover, the EPS is not without its problems as it fails to allow changes in workplace (workers are indentured slaves), renewable visas (workers are commodified), or effective labour organizing (workers must obtain annual permission from their bosses to stay in the country for the duration of their 3-year visas).

The MTU (Migrant Workers Trade Union, founded April, 2005) which grew out of the ETU-MB (Equality Trade Union, Migrant’s Branch, founded May 2001) is committed to worker empowerment and is purely migrant organized and led. It is the only organization of its kind in Korea, and is among very few in the world. It aims to provide advocacy for this 80% working majority and is calling for legalisation of all overstayers (some of whom have been here upwards of 15 years and have formed deep ties and roots), an end to the crackdown, reformation of the EPS to include freedom to effectively organize, freedom to change workplaces, and freedom to renew visas. They represent the front-line of the migrant labour struggle in Korea. The Korean Ministry of Justice has publicly announced that migrant worker activists will be the first targeted for deportation. Morever, it has cancelled the Memorandums of Understanding with Bangladesh and Nepal (under which labour is imported into Korea) due to the large numbers of these nationals in activist organizations in Korea.

To date, eight leaders of the migrant worker’s union have been forcibly deported. Under Korean immigration law, a detainee must give their written consent to be deported. In the absence of a signature, permission to waive this regulation from the detainee’s home country is required. We are anticipating the same with Anwar, so we want to pre-empt this action by inundating the Bangladesh Ministry of Home Affairs and The Bangladesh Embassy in Seoul with letters and faxes protesting his deportation.

Please help stop Anwar’s deportation! Write letters or FAX the Bangladesh Home Ministry office and The Bangladesh Embassy in Seoul demanding non-compliance in his deportation.

Sample letter below:

Minister of Home Affairs

Honourable Lutfozzaman Babor

Bangladesh Secretariat


Ambassador General of Bangladesh in South Korea, H.E. A.M. Mahmudzzaman,

Bangladesh Embassy


Dear Home Minister/Mr.Ambassador:

It has come to my attention that Anwar Hossain, long-targeted chief of the Migrant worker Trade Union (MTU) in South Korea, was arrested on May 14 after leaving a union meeting. Mr. Hossain has tirelessly and rightfully fought for fair treatment of migrant workers in Korea through union activism and his imprisonment reflects a flagrant attempt to suppress the migrant worker movement in Korea. Moreover, Mr. Hossain was arrested (and is being detained) at a time when the registration of the new Migrant worker Trade Union by the Korean government is pending. Arresting Mr. Hossain at such a time reflects a shocking disrespect of due process. After investigating the case, the Korean Human Rights Commission has ruled Mr. Hossain’s arrest illegal but he remains imprisoned.

The MTU aims to provide advocacy for undocumented migrant labour in Korea – an estimated 80% of the foreign workforce. This shockingly high figure directly reflects a long history of unfair policy toward migrant labour where they were imported enmasse as trainees without worker rights. The Korean government has engaged in a wholesale crackdown since November, 2003 on these workers. As well as demanding an end to the crackdown, the MTU is striving to set a world-wide precedent for migrant workers by benchmarking fair standards of employment and immigration, demanding legalization of all undocumented workers in Korea, freedom to change workplace and organize, and the granting of renewable visas.

Remittances sent to Bangladesh by its migrant workers constitute a primary contribution to its GNP. These workers are the backbone of your country, a country forged in brave and noble struggle. As such, it behooves you not only to stand by your citizens abroad that are feeding your country but also those who are struggling for their dignity and rights. Human and worker rights should be non-negotiable when bartering international trade in labour.

When the Korean Ministry of Justice asks for your compliance in Mr. Hossain’s deportation, I strongly urge you to refuse! Proudly join in the protest against the unfair treatment of your fellow countrymen and women, fathers, brothers, and sisters! Stop the further ghettoization and commodification of migrant labour! As a labour exporting country, export with dignity, fairness, and pride!

Yours sincerely,

Please send letters of protest to:

Minister of Home Affairs

Honourable Lutfozzaman Babor

Bangladesh Secretariat

Building 4



FAX: 88-02-716-9667

Ambassador General of Bangladesh in South Korea,

H.E. A.M. Mahmudzzaman,

Bangladesh Embassy

1-67, Dongbinggo-dong,

Yongsan-gu Seoul,

South Korea

FAX: 82-2-790-5313
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