South Korea: Release of Han Sang-gyun

The former president of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) was released on parole on May 21, 2018. He had been detained since his arrest on December 10, 2015 following a demonstration against proposed labour law reforms. On April 25, 2017, the United Nations working group on arbitrary detention declared his detention arbitrary as it resulted from the exercise of his right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

FIDH, through its Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, has issued a number of urgent appeals for his release and that of former KCTU Secretary General Ms. Lee Young-joo who is still currently detained. Moreover, as member and vice-chair of the EU Domestic Advisory Group (DAG) on Korea, FIDH has raised their cases at each given occasion, namely at the latest Civil Society Forum. In order to ensure that the European Commission takes on its responsibilities correctly, raising their cases and actively engaging with the South Korean authorities, a joint letter was addressed to trade commissioner Malmstrom to this effect.

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