사이드바 영역으로 건너뛰기

Ciao, ciao 아노아르同志!

Before y'day (7.22) MTU, together with many solidarity groups/activists celebrated comrade Anwar Hossain's (former chairman of MTU) "Farewell Party". On Thursday (7.26), after almost 11 years exploited and oppressed in S. Korea - he had to spend even one year in immigration detention center - he will go back home to Bangladesh. 



22일 연세대학교 학생회관 3층 푸른샘에서
아노아르 동지의 환송회가 있었습니다.

이주노동자들의 자신들의 조직인 이주노조를 만들어지고
초대 위원장으로 아노아르 동지,
정말이지 헌신적이고 열정적인 활동으로
여러동지들, 연대 단위들, 우리 운동에
많이 기여해 주었습니다.

표적연행되어 1년여간 보호소에 갇혀서도
힘있고 단호하게 싸웠기 때문에
함께 싸우는 사람들이 용기얻어 단호하게 싸울 수 있었습니다.

귀국을 앞두고, 명동성당에 들러 몇시간이고 있다가 왔다는 아노아르 동지,
한국에서 멋진 모습, 직접 보면서 활동할 수 없어 아쉽기는 하지만
우리는 국제 운동의 일부니까요,
함께 싸우고 있을 겁니다.
동지의 모습 떠올리며 용감하게
이주노동자들의 인권과 노동권 쟁취하는 그날까지
'함께' 싸우고 있겠습니다.


(Source: 버리동지 on MTU)


Following just some (photo) impressions about the event:




 (Source: 아노아르환송회, incl. many more pics.)


"자리를 옮기는 것 뿐입니다" (Interview with Anwar, by Chamsesang)

Urgent appeal campaign for Anwar同志 (2005.6.09)

나를 연행한 것은 노동운동 탄압이다! (video by Hong Gil-dong, 2005.5.16)




Anwar behind bars - Immigration Detention Center,

summer 2005




Update (7.25):

Today's Hankyoreh published following article:


Life is still difficult for migrant workers in Korea

Migrant workers’ union founder makes the difficult decision to leave, following years of fighting for the rights of migrant workers
A 25-year-old Bangladeshi man came to South Korea in May 1996, leaving nine brothers and sisters in his homeland. As he had only obtained a 3-month tourist visa, he was not allowed to work legally in Korea. However, he got a job at a plastic factory in Anyang, Gyeonggi Province, with the help of a broker. He had initially thought, “I will stay here for three years at the most and return to my homeland after earning a lot of money.” Now, ten years have passed. The young man who had been dreaming the “Korean dream” has become a fighter via the stark realities of his tough life here. He is determined to make a world in which all laborers are treated as human beings regardless their nationality.

Anoar Hussein, 36, who established the Migrants’ Trade Union, the nation’s first trade union for migrant workers, in April 2005, will return to Bangladesh on July 26. He has made this difficult decision because it has not been easy for him to extend his visa and he can to take better care of himself in his homeland. He has had to suffer a great deal of hardship since coming to live in Seoul.

These days, he is concerned about the South Korean government’s plans to crack down on undocumented migrant workers in August. “I am so sorry that I am leaving a situation in which I have many things to do. It is even more burdensome to leave Korea than it was to come here,” he said.

When he first joined the migrant workers’ campaign, he did not intend to found a movement, but living and working in an environment in which he has often suffered from abuse and ill treatment has caused him to want to stand up for his rights and those of the people around him. “I worked hard at a fabric factory in Seongsu-dong for over 12 hours a day, but I only received 700,000 won (US$ 765) a month. Sometimes, I didn’t get my wages for three months,” he said. Though he and those he met near the factory where he worked were of different nationalities and often faced a language barrier, they were easily united through their common cause. “We just wanted to be treated like human beings,” they said. Thus began his fight.

Following implementation of the Employment Permit System in 2003, the government has granted legal status to just 227,000 foreigners and urged the remaining 120,000 undocumented foreign residents to leave the country immediately. The government then deported over 100,000 undocumented workers.

In November of the same year, approximately 100 foreign workers, including Hussein, staged a sit-in under a tent at Myeongdong Catholic Cathedral in downtown Seoul calling for the government to stop forcefully repatriating foreign workers and legalize undocumented laborers at once. The demonstration lasted for 380 days. “I was impressed by the South Korean students and citizens who supported us. I stopped thinking that all South Koreans were same and that it was useless to fight,” he said. The struggle led to the founding of the Migrants’ Trade Union.

However, it has not been easy. Despite the fact that the court has declared that undocumented foreign workers do have the right to form unions, the Ministry of Labor has still not recognized this right.

Hussein established the labor union for foreign workers in April 2005 and became its first leader, but was arrested by the police 20 days after the union was launched and imprisoned at Cheongju Immigration Office for a year. During that time he was monitored 24 hours a day and lost 8 kilograms. “I was so displeased with the behavior of my fellow inmates and I thought of committing a suicide almost everyday,” he said. For some time after he was released, he had to receive mental treatment, he added.

When he returns to Bangladesh, he will continue to work in the labor and social movements, building upon his experiences in South Korea. “I haven’t given up on seeking rights for migrant workers in South Korea. Wherever I am, people will be able to meet me through the international solidarity of the social justice movement,” he said.




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