Brother Han is free and vows to fight on!
UNI Global Union joined with the ITUC in warmly welcoming the news of the release of the former President of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), Han San-gyun.
UNI affiliate KHMU President Sister Na was more than 150 members of the KCTU who cheered outside Hwasung Detention Office as Bro Han addressed them moments after his release.
He expressed his thanks to all those who had supported him through his long ordeal, which included UNI Global Union, whose general secretary, Philip Jennings had visited him in prison as part of a mission from UNI’s Korea Liaison Committee. Members of UNI’s KLC visited Bro Han several times during his incarceration.
Bro Han said “I am out today because of your solidarity. I promise I will repay your support by continuing. To fight.”
UNI GS, Jennings said, “Brother Han never gave up the peaceful struggle for workers’ rights, even in his darkest hour he remained strong. We are delighted he is free at last and proud to be part of the international solidarity action which supported him. We extend our best wishes to his family, colleagues and friends who have also suffered during his ordeal and do not forget others wrongly imprisoned standing up for workers, both in Korea and elsewhere, notably former President Lula in Brazil.
Finally I would like to put on record UNI’s firm wish that Brother Han join us in Liverpool next month for our World Congress where we can celebrate his release with more than 2000 UNI affiliates from all over the world. Thank you Brother Han!”
The General Secretary of the ITUC, Sharan Burrow said, “Today Han Sang-gyun is out of prison. He will be welcomed home not only by the people of Korea, but by workers worldwide. The arbitrary arrest and detention of union leaders around the world is on the rise. Repression of workers at peaceful protests is becoming more brutal. This is democracy under attack. From workplace activists tackling corporate greed to trade union leaders demanding justice for working people, there are courageous women and men in every village, in every city. But today we honour Hang Sang-gyun for his sacrifice in defending the rights of working people. The government of Korea has taken an important step today. The fight for freedom does not end here, former KCTU general secretary Lee Young-joo remains in detention for her role in the peaceful protests that brought down the former government and we call for her immediate release. Repression of workers' rights and regressive labour policies mean exploitation of working people. We are tremendously pleased that Han will be able to rejoin family, friends and colleagues, and carry on his work for social justice.”