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Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2005 - South Korea

Publisher International Federation for Human Rights
Publication Date 22 March 2006
Cite as International Federation for Human Rights, Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2005 - South Korea, 22 March 2006, available at: [accessed 25 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Judicial proceedings against Mr. Ahn Byeong-Soon and Mr. Kim Young-Gil74

Mr. Ahn Byeong-Soon, secretary general of the Korean Government Employees Union (KGEU), and Mr. Kim Young-Gil, KGEU president, were respectively arrested on 15 March and 8 April 2005. An arrest warrant had been issued against both men on 9 November 2005, following a general strike protesting against the Bill on the Public Officials' Trade Union Act. The Korean government had then attempted to prevent demonstrations organised throughout the country by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) and KGEU against the Bill.

After a first hearing on 12 April 2005, during which the Prosecutor called for one and a half year imprisonment for Mr. Ahn Byeong-Soon, the latter was eventually sentenced to eight months in prison and two years suspended sentence on 28 April 2005. He was released on the same day. Mr. Kim Young-Gil was released on 24 June 2005 after he was sentenced to one year in prison and two years' suspended sentence and probation for contravening the Public Officials Act.

However, the crackdown on KGEU continued. On 21 and 22 June 2005, KGEU held rallies calling on the government to end the repression against trade unions and to come out to talks with the trade union of Wonju City, in the province of Gangwon-Do. Although the police had been informed beforehand of this gathering, hundreds of riot cops surrounded the protesters and violently pulled participants out of the rally one by one. On 22 June 2005, 126 KGEU members were arrested during a peaceful rally, before being released two days later.

Arbitrary detention and threat of deportation against Mr. Anwar Hossain75

On 14 May 2005, Mr. Anwar Hossain, president of the Migrant Workers' Trade Union (MTU), of Bangladeshi nationality, was arrested by more than 30 police officers of the Immigration Control Division, his visa having expired. He was beaten and suffered injuries to his head and hands during his arrest. On the same day, Mr. Anwar Hossain had criticised, in an important national newspaper, the government policy towards illegal immigrant workers.

On 16 May 2005, the government stated that once it would receive the passport of Mr. Anwar Hossain, who had lived in South Korea for nine years, he would be expelled. Furthermore, following the establishment of MTU on 24 April 2005, the Korean government refused to recognise the union and publicly announced that MTU would enjoy neither the right to organise, nor the right to strike or to engage in collective bargaining.

At the end of 2005, Mr. Anwar Hossain remained in detention in an immigration detention centre in Chungju.

[Refworld note: This report as posted on the FIDH website ( was in pdf format with country chapters run together by region. Footnote numbers have been retained here, so do not necessarily begin at 1.]

74. See Urgent Appeals KOR 001/0405/OBS 027, 027.1 and 027.2.

75. See Urgent Appeal KOR 001/0405/OBS 027.1.

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