The International Trade Union Confederation – Asia Pacific (ITUC-Asia Pacific) passed a resolution on 23 November (Thursday), condemning the Hong Kong government for weaponising the National Security Legislation (NSL) to arrest and detain trade unionists and human rights activists, clamp down on civil liberties, instil fear, and silence dissidence both within Hong Kong and internationally. The resolution also pledged to monitor the developments in Hong Kong, to use the reporting mechanisms of the International Labour Organisation(ILO) and United Nations(UN) treaty bodies and mobilise campaigns calling for Lee Cheuk Yan’s release.
ITUC-Asia Pacific, representing over 60 million trade union members from 34 Asian and Pacific nations and territories, held its’ 5th ITUC-Asia Pacific Regional Conference this month in Bangkok, Thailand. Christoper Mung, Hong Kong Labour Rights Monito (HKLRM) Executive Director, gave a video speech during the conference. He mentioned that in the past 1.5 years, thanks to ITUC’s and ITUC-AP’s support, HKLRM has spoken for the Hong Kong labour movement in different countries and submitted reports to the UN and ILO for reviewing the international convention. “Despite the escalation of the transnational suppression, we are determined to continue our work to voice out for the Hong Kong people who are forced into silence by the Chinese government. We call on your support for the release of all the unionists in jail, to repeal the national security law, and to stop the suppression of the labour movement in Hong Kong immediately. Unionism is not a crime.” He said.
The resolution, which called for solidarity with the independent trade union movement and imprisoned trade unionists in Hong Kong, expressed grave concerns over the Chinese and Hong Kong authorities’ persistent attacks against independent trade unionists, including Elizabeth Tang, General Secretary of the International Domestic Workers’ Federation, and Christoper Mung, HKLRM Executive Director. The resolution also mentioned the prolonged imprisonment of three Hong Kong trade unionists, former Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) General Secretary Lee Cheuk Yan, former HKCTU Chair Carol Ng, and former Chair of the Hospital Authority Employees Alliance (HAEA) Winnie Yu. The three have been detained for over two years on allegations of state subversion.
ITUC-Asia Pacific further pointed out that the Chinese and Hong Kong authorities do not respect international obligations or the recommendations of the International Labour Organisation, the United Nations Human Rights Committee, and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. They refused to release the imprisoned trade unionists, abolish the National Security legislation, and continue to use the National Security legislation to arrest and prosecute human rights activists. ITUC-Asia Pacific also raised grave concerns about the safety of Hong Kong and diaspora trade unionists and human rights activists, who face NSL’s ‘long arm’ application through cross-border surveillance, censorship, asset freezes, travel restrictions, and harassments by the authorities.