With tensions escalating, UNI Global Union is joining the ITUC and the global labor movement’s demands to end violence in Hong Kong and to protect freedom of assembly, free speech, and other democratic rights.
After several violent clashes, Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) General Secretary Lee Cheuk Yan wrote to the ITUC:
“We are now in a very critical situation. . .The government should conduct an independent, credible investigation accepted by the community for the protests that broke out since June as a first step to assure the people of Hong Kong that the Hong Kong Government is willing to look into police violence and violations of human rights.”
The protest movement was sparked in June by a proposed legislative amendment that would allow the extradition of Hong Kong residents to China, putting them at risk of political persecution. More than two million people in Hong Kong have participated in the protests, and thousands have taken to the streets daily over the summer. Over the past several weeks, the movements’ demands have broadened to include other pro-democracy measures.
In a show of solidarity with the people of Hong Kong, UNI General Secretary Christy Hoffman said:
“We are deeply troubled by the violence on display while millions of people in Hong Kong are defending civil society and fundamental rights. The shocking use of force against pro-democracy protestors should not be tolerated by the international community, and the global labor movement is with the demonstrators who are courageously taking to the streets despite repression and threats. Our deep solidarity will continue until rule of law is reinstated and the core demands of the HKCTU are met in full.”
The HKCTU’s five core demands are: a permanent withdrawal of the extradition law; the release of the arrested protesters without charge; the withdrawal by the authorities of their characterisation of the 12 June protests as “riots”; an independent investigation into police violence and abuse of power; and implementation of universal suffrage.
In a call to action, Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the ITUC, said, “We are calling on trade unionists worldwide to put pressure on their local Chinese embassies, and we will be working with global union federations to counter the pressure on Hong Kong employers like Cathay Pacific who have been pressurized by the Chinese government to discipline staff exercising their fundamental human right to protest. We stand side by side with our brave sisters and brothers in Hong Kong in demanding an end to the violence and universal suffrage in Hong Kong.”