Deaths squads rampant in the Philippines

The murder of 32 people in one night last week, once again highlights the murderous rampage that President Duterte has unleashed in the Philippines with his ‘War on Drugs’. It is estimated that close to 10,000 people have been killed so far, with bodies being dumped in the sea and children also being targeted. While there is growing opposition, most poor urban working class communities are totally defenceless against these death squads. A new film, Duterte’s Hell, portrays the horror of these killings.

Israel seeks to replace Palestinian workers

In a new development, Israel is trying to stop its reliance on Palestinian workers by importing large numbers of Chinese migrant workers. While the Israel economy benefitted from the dispossession of Palestinian lands and the super exploitation of Palestinian workers, it nevertheless left it vulnerable to Palestinians’ organising efforts and resistance. In addition, however low the wages were, it still allowed the Palestinians to create an economy in the Occupied areas. By importing a new group of vulnerable workers, Israel is trying to preserve the exploitation of workers, but separate itself economically and politically from Palestinian resistance.

Imprisoned Reza Shahabi on hunger strike

The Iranian labour activist Reza Shahabi has been on a hunger strike since August 9 in protest against his renewed detention and extension of his prison sentence. Reza is a long time member and activist with the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Vahed Syndicate) with a proud history of fighting for the rights of his fellow workers. Iranian labour activists around the world are campaigning for his release and against the ongoing repression of labour activists by the Iranian government. A sample protest letter calling for Reza’s release is available.

Permit systems kills migrant worker in South Korea

The recent suicide of Keshav Shrestha, a young Nepali migrant worker in South Korea, has once again highlighted the repressive regulations that migrant workers face in South Korea. The law in question is the Employment Permit System (EPS) which legalises migrant workers’ stay in South Korea but puts incredible restrictions on their right to move jobs and travel. This makes these workers highly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse from their employers. A number of solidarity actions and public events by labour activists have been held demanding the removal of the EPS and justice for migrant workers in South Korea.

Activists in Hong Kong jailed for protesting

In handing down jail sentences of up to 12 months to 13 human rights activists, the Hong Kong Court of Appeal has sent a clear political message to all human rights and labour activists in Hong Kong. The sentences relate to a protest in the Legislative Council in 2014, at the height of the anti-elections laws demonstrations, concerning the process around a major new urban development in the New Territories. Also this week, three young leaders of the Hong Kong's democracy movement were sentenced to jail in a separate judgement for their roles in 2014 protests. These sentences mark a continuation of the government’s law and order campaign to stifle and suppress dissenting voices in Hong Kong. 

Tyre workers win recognition of their union

In an important victory, over 600 workers employed at JK Tyres in Kanchipuram district in southern India, won the right to be represented by the union of their choice. The workers had to strike for more than two weeks, but in the end were also able to win the reinstatement of 27 probationary workers who had been dismissed during this strike. This is an important win for all workers in the region as other recent similar disputes, such as the one at Apollo Tyres, were shut down by government actions.

Strikes common across all sectors in China

The latest mapping of the number of strikes and industrial actions in China confirms that while workers in the construction sector are the ones most likely to take action, workers in the retail and service sectors are also continuing to flex their industrial muscle. Within this industrial political landscape, the environment for workers can vary with gains in one sector offset by repression in other struggles. Nevertheless, the continuing integration of the Chinese economy into the global economy continues to shape the influences and pressures on Chinese workers.

Workers need to stop a new Korean war

This week saw an increase in the threats between the United States and the North Korean governments with both sides threatening military strikes. The peninsula has already witnessed a devastating conflict between 1950-53, that saw North Korea practically levelled by USA bombing. This tension comes at a time of National Liberation Day on August 15 that marks the end of Japanese occupation of the Korean Peninsula. Anti-war activists from both the USA and South Korea are circulating an international petition against the war while a major demonstration is planned in Seoul this Tuesday. As witnessed by the current wars in central and west Asia, military conflicts are a disaster for workers, their families and their communities.

Another refugee dies in Australia’s concentration camps

Hamed Shamshiripour killed himself last Monday, just outside Australia’s concentration camp in Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. Hamed was experiencing worsening mental health issues due to his ongoing detention but received minimal care. He is the seventh person who has died in the last few years in Australia’s overseas concentration camps. Australia’s callous and brutal policies towards these refugees was further exposed by the recent revelations of the Prime Minister Turnbull supplications to President Trump to take the detainees. In the meantime, the refugees on Manus have started another indefinite series of protests.
Close the Camps! Bring them Here! Let them Stay!

More journalists arrested in Turkey

This week, another nine journalists were arrested as part of a larger group of 35 media workers. All have been accused of ‘membership of an armed terrorist organisation’. These arrests are just the latest in a continuing campaign that has seen around 150,000 workers suspended or sacked from their jobs since the attempted coup last July. The International Federation of Journalists has once again condemned this attack on journalist and media freedom by the Turkish government.

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