By Kim Tae-jong
Labor unions denounce the prosecution’s move to collect DNA samples of unionists found guilty of violence during strikes.
The criticism came as the prosecution recently issued summons to collection samples of six unionists.
The law which went into effect last July allows the prosecution to establish a national DNA databases to combat the repeat of serious crimes such as those committed by serial killers and child rapists.
But unions and human rights groups claim the excessive application of the law violates the human rights of unionists and it is another way to suppress unionists and their labor union action.
“By unnecessarily expanding the collection of DNA samples, prosecutors treat unionists like murderers and rapists,” said Kang Ji-hyun, an official from the Korean Metal Workers’ Union. “It is also used to suppress unionists and their collective action in the future.”
He demanded the prosecution stop abusing the law.
The six unionists who were on the sampling list include three workers from Ssangyong Motor and two unionists from the automaker’s subcontractor.
The five have been recently convicted of violence as they were involved in the 76-day strike against the lay-off plans by the automaker in 2009.
Of the six, only a former unionist from Ssangyong Motor, surnamed Seo, has presented himself to the prosecution as the prosecution threatened him with an arrest warrant if he kept rejecting the summons.
“They are trying to mar unionists with a stigma just because they participated in a strike to fight for their survival,” said Lee Chang-geun, an official of the labor union of Ssangyong Motor. “In union strikes, it is sometimes unavoidable to be involved in violence and it should be viewed differently from violence in other crimes,”
But the prosecution said the collection of DNA data is a legally approved procedure.
“The National Assembly passed the bill for the law last year, and there is no legal problem with it. It is not a matter of choice but a matter of duty,” a prosecutor said.
The prosecution also attempted to summon convicted protestors in the violent demonstrations in Yongsan, Seoul in 2009, where six people, including a police officer, were killed in a fire during a raid to evict protestors from a building that was going to be torn down for redevelopment.
In response, labor unions and human rights groups plan to join hands to file a constitutional petition against the prosecution’s move.
쌍용 파업 노동자 ‘ DNA’ 수집 논란
노동 단체들은 검찰이 파업에 참여했다는 이유로 유죄 판결을 받은 노동자들에게 DNA 수집을 위한 소환 요구를 한 것에 대해 거세게 반발하고 나섰다.
7월에 시행된 새로운 법에 따르면, 검찰은 흉악 범죄자에 대해 ‘DNA’ 수집을 요청할 수 있다.
하지만 노동 단체들이나 인권 단체들은 법의 과잉 적용이 노동자들의 인권을 침해하고 노동 운동을 억압하는 수단으로 사용된다고 주장하고 있다.