UN rapporteurs worry about arrest of KCTU leader for illegal gatherings


SEJONG, Dec. 28 (Yonhap) – UN human rights special rapporteurs have expressed concern over the October arrest of the leader of a major South Korean umbrella union, and the government has responded that his arrest was justified because he had organized illegal gatherings in violation of anti-virus rules.

The special rapporteurs sent a letter to the South Korean government on October 22, claiming that Yang Kyeung-soo, the head of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), had legitimately exercised his rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. and association. .

Yang was arrested and charged in September for leading a series of mass rallies between May and July in violation of COVID-19 rules. He was released last month after being sentenced to one year in prison, suspended for two years.

“Over the past few months, the KCTU has organized a number of activities to advocate for the protection of workers’ rights, in response to the economic and jobs crisis resulting from the global COVID-19 pandemic” , said the UN rapporteurs.

They also pointed out that around 2,000 law enforcement officers were mobilized to execute the arrest warrant, and that Yang’s arrest and detention “appears to be part of a larger scheme aimed at imposing undue restrictions on freedom of expression and the freedom of peaceful assembly and association of workers’ unions and their leaders.

In a recent response to the UN, the government said the KCTU held rallies that thousands of people attended in violation of national laws, although it has repeatedly called on the union to abide by the rules. State-led COVID-19.

The KCTU also staged rallies as “everyone in the country has long suffered restrictions on daily life to prevent the spread of the virus,” the government said, noting that South Korea guarantees freedom of expression and the freedom of assembly and association of any individual under the Constitution.

The government also explained that the police had to take severe measures because Yang had stayed at the KCTU headquarters for three weeks to avoid being arrested.


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