PROGRESS IN TRYING TIMES
In April 2022, the Hong Kong Labour Rights Monitor (HKLRM) was founded. Started from scratch, we gradually managed to expand our network and find new channels and approaches to bring Hong Kong’s labour rights issues to the attention of the international labour movement and the global civil society.
During these formative months of our newly established organisation, we published a research report and engaged with trade unions from different corners of the world. We attended the United Nations Human Rights Committee’s hearing. We continued to monitor and report the labour rights situation in Hong Kong. We made every effort to support the Hong Kong labour movement during these trying times.
Although these efforts may not bring immediate changes on the ground, we are confident that there is hope if everyone of us do our part and stand firm in our beliefs.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all. With your support, the subdued voices of Hong Kong’s workers can now be heard.
Your support has helped us to shine a light in the dark.
Hong Kong Labour Rights Monitor
OUR WORK IN 2022
We published our first research paper Hong Kong Trade Union Movement under the National Security Law: Two years into the authoritarian rule on the eve of the second anniversary of the promulgation of the Hong Kong National Security Law (NSL).
The report revealed how the authorities have weaponised the NSL to crush Hong Kong’s independent trade union movement and included an analysis of the existential threats faced by the trade union movement.
The report detailed how the authorities have waged a campaign of repression, with union leaders being detained, legitimate union activities restricted, and intimidation and harassment used to force unions to disband based on the overly vague and broad definition of the NSL.
In July, our executive director, Siu-Tat Mung, brought our advocacy efforts to the United Nations.
He spoke at the UN Human Rights Committee review hearing on Hong Kong’s implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and explained the suppression Hong Kong trade unions now faced under the NSL. He also delivered our report Hong Kong Trade Union Movement Under the National Security Law to United Nations experts and delegations from the UN Human Rights Committee and the International Labour Organisation.
Building global solidarity has been another focus of our work in the past year.
We met with over 16 trade unions from the UK, France, Sweden, Australia, the Netherlands, the USA, Ireland and more. We were most encouraged by their support for the Hong Kong independent labour movement. We were heartened to see international trade union organisations, for example, the International Trade Union Confederation World Congress and the Building and Wood Workers’ International voting on resolutions calling for the repeal of the NSL and denouncing the repression of the trade union movement in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is not an isolated case suffering repression under an authoritarian regime. In the past year, we have engaged with trade unionists from Ukraine, Myanmar, Cambodia, and others facing suppression under an authoritarian regime. We shared their struggles with our Hong Kong audience. We can only push back this sweeping wave of authoritarian regimes if we stand as one.
The labour movement is a people’s movement. Public engagement is another crucial part of our work. This year, we created a resource hub on our website and compiled some of the most important moments of Hong Kong’s independent labour movement from 1990 to 2021. In May, we held an exhibition at the Hong Kongers’ Labour Fair in London.
Monitoring Hong Kong Labour Rights
Hong Kong trade unions have been subject to different forms of repression under the NSL. Sedition laws and the Societies Ordinance have been used against trade unionists. The authorities have also enacted new regulations requiring applicants for new trade unions to state that the union will not “endanger” national security.
Meanwhile, as many trade unions have been disbanded, Hong Kong workers’ basic rights have become increasingly exposed to exploitation. We have been working to fill the gap and advocating for the workers in Hong Kong through our reports, analyses and media interviews. In the past few months, we have published 25 blogs in Chinese and English. We have also been interviewed by media outlets in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Germany, The Netherlands and the USA.
HKLRM got off to a great start in 2022. It was not easy, but we were glad to have your support and advice every step of the way. Your support drives us to go further. Please help us by circulating this email among your contacts to inform more people about the latest developments of #HKLabourRights. Finally, do not forget to follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and keep abreast of our latest work.
This is a wrap of our work in 2022 and we will see you in our next newsletter in January 2023!
Hong Kong Labour Rights Monitor