Korean workers and activists demonstrate in Geneva

15 June 2016
Workers and human rights activists from Korea demonstrated on 15 June 2016 in front of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, while awaiting the report from the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association after his visit to Korea on 20-26 April this year.

The protestors were also demonstrating against police brutality and the Korean government’s practice of criminalizing peaceful protests.

On November 14, 2015, during a massive demonstration against labor reform, many workers - among whom Sang-gyun Han, President of the Korean Confederation of Workers (KCTU) - were arrested and charged with crimes related to public order. At the moment their case is being examined in Korea and they may be sentenced to more than 10 years in prison.

Korean demonstrators in front of the UN in GenevaOn the same day, Nam-gi Baek, a farmer who participated in the protest to demand the government to raise the price of rice, was injured by a police water cannon. Since then – for more than 200 days - he has remained unconscious. It is ironic that none of those responsible for the repression have been put on trial, while peaceful demonstrators are facing criminal charges.

PSI expresses its solidarity with the Korean workers and people and calls on the government:

  • To free and release all detained workers who participated in the protests on 14 November 2015;
  • To investigate the acts of police brutality and ensure that those responsible for them are brought to justice;
  • To guarantee the right to freedom of assembly and association, in compliance with ratified international treaties.

The Special Rapporteur's report on Korea is now available.

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