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Letter to Korean Ambassador on Labor Union Strikers


January 17, 1997

His Excellency
Kun Woo Park
Embassy of Korea
2450 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C., 20008

Dear Ambassador Park,

I write to express our concern about the labor leaders of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions who have taken refuge at Seouls Myongdong Cathedral, and about those who are providing sanctuary to them. Many hundreds of Catholic priests and many hundreds of Buddhist monks have demonstrated their solidarity with the striking unionists and their leaders, some of whom have already been arrested and others have been threatened with arrest.

Labor-management relations are best conducted at the bargaining table, not with punitive legislation or police violence against striking workers. Any use of force or violence to seize the labor leaders who have taken refuge at the Cathedral would be seen throughout the world not only as a violation of workers rights but also as a serious affront to the religious leaders who seek only a peaceful and just resolution of this conflict.

It is our hope that we will soon hear of just such a non-violent settlement of the strike and a resumption of dialogue on the important issues facing the Korean economy today.

Sincerely yours,

(Rev.) Drew Christiansen, S.J.
Director, USCC Office of International Justice and Peace

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