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Archive for the ‘International Supporters of SHARPS’ Category

Previously on this blog, we shared that Korea Workers’ Compensation and Welfare Service (KCOMWEL), had taken the brazenly anti-worker step of appealing to a higher court against a court ruling which had overturned KCOMWEL’s rejection of two Samsung workers’ claim for compensation. That court had confirmed that indeed there was a link between the workers’ Samsung workplace and their cancer and illness.

Below we share the letter of nearly 200 signatories, who sent a letter to the South Korean Ministry of Employment and Labor in October 2011, condemning the behavior of KCOMWEL which appears to be colluding with the corporation Samsung at worst, and at the least does not appear to be doing the maximum to protect workers’ welfare and implement correct judgement about their just compensation from workplace injury and illness.

(The previous posting re: this case is here: https://stopsamsung.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/state-agency-kcomwel-appeals-against-court-ruling-in-favor-of-samsung-occupational-disease-victims/)

October 3, 2011

Honorable Minister Lee Chae-Pil

Ministry of Employment and Labor

Republic of South Korea

Dear Honorable Minister Lee Chae-Pil,

We are writing to express deep concern about the recent actions of Korea

Workers’ Compensation and Welfare Service (KCOMWEL), an important part of the Ministry of Employment and Labor directly involved in compensation for worker injury.

As you know, in recent times more than 140 workers in the electronics sector have been diagnosed with serious occupational diseases including cancer, and at least one third of them have already died. Most of them worked for Samsung.

Twenty injured workers filed for compensation by KCOMWEL due to the occupational origin of their illnesses. We were surprised and disturbed to hear that KCOMWEL rejected their claims. We believe that KCOMWEL’s rejection does not reflect the agency’s mission to, “…contribute to the improvement of workers’ quality of life…” nor does it offer a, “…working hope and dream for workers” as stated by Mr. Shin Young-Chul, the President of KCOMWEL.

On June 23, 2011, the Seoul Administrative Court overturned KCOMWEL’s erroneous judgment, finding the agency to be wrong in rejecting the link between leukemia and the workplace of two workers. This raises further questions about how KCOMWEL is operating with respect to its mission.

The process became even more disturbing when KCOMWEL decided to appeal the court’s decision, effectively seeking to refuse worker compensation for injury in the workplace. When a public interest non-governmental organization (Supporters for Health and Right of People in Semiconductor Industry) pressed KCOMWEL about their decision to appeal, they were told that the Prosecutor made the decision to appeal and that the agency must obey their decision. However, Mr. Shin Young-Chul stated that he would re-exam the appeal and notify the injured workers if it would go forward. This turned out to deceptive.  During the recent National Assembly audit, Mr. Chung Dong Young (a lawmaker from the Democratic Party) revealed that KCOMWEL had already submitted a document actively proposing an appeal to the Prosecutor three days before promising injured workers KCOMWEL would investigate the matter and stating that KCOMWEL was just following the wishes of the Prosecutor. The investigation by Mr. Chung Dong Young revealed that KCOMWEL actively worked to undermine the court judgment and indicated that KCOMWEL coordinated with Samsung on the matter. Apparently, KCOMWEL actively worked to avoid workers’ compensation and even lied to injured victims about the entire process.

We find KCOMWEL’s actions to be dishonorable and not in keeping with the agency mission or the standards of the Korean Government. Therefore, in the short term we urge the Ministry of Labor and Employment to withdraw the mistaken court appeal of the two injured Samsung workers. We also believe that the agency should be held accountable for its dishonorable actions. In the mid- term, we believe that there should be a careful examination of KCOMWEL operations with an eye towards improving workers’ quality of life, starting with full disclosure and transparency of agency research and actions.

Thank you for your consideration.

Best regards,

Sanjiv Pandita, Executive Director

Asia Monitor Resource Centre

Flat 7, 9th Floor, Block A

Fuk Keung Industrial Building

66-68 Tong Mi Road

Kowloon, Hong Kong

Ph: 2332-1346, 2332-1347

Fax: 2385-5319

CC: Shin Young Chul, Chairperson, KCOMWEL

Assembly members of the Environment and Labor Committee

Dr. Jeong-ok Kong, SHARPS

Additional Signatories

1 Australia National Toxics Network  Joanna Immig Coordinator

2 Mariann Lloyd-Smith PhD, Senior Advisor

3 Bangladesh Center for Participatory Research and

Development Md Shamsuddoha

4 Coastal development Partnership  M M Mahbub Hasan Chief Regional Officer

5 Community Development Friend  Anwara Parvin

6 Belgium European Trade Union Institute Tony Musu Senior Researcher

7 Laurent Vogel Director of the Working Conditions

8 R.I.S.K. Tony Tweedale

9 Cambodia Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA) Heng Sam Orn Secretary General

10 The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association  Nay Vanda Director

11 Worker’s Information Center(WIC) Touch Sreyneath Coordinator

12 Cameroon Centre de Recherche et d’Education pour le

Développement Gilbert Kuepouo, PhD  Coordinator

13 Canada Clean Production Action Beverly Thorpe Co-Director

14 Maquila Solidarity Network Kevin Thomas

15 Lynda Yanz

16 United Food and Commercial Workers Local

832 Robert Hilliard

Workers’ Compensation Advocate

17 Worksafe Dorothy Wigmore Occupational health specialist

18 China Asia Monitor Resource Center Sanjiv Pandita Executive Director

19 Doris Lee Publications Coordinator

20 Fahmi Panimbang

21 Omana George

22 Globalization Monitor May Wong

23 Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Union Koonkwan Ng Organizer

24 Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior Chan Sze Wan Debby

25 Egypt Day Hospital Institute for Development and Rehabilitation Ahmed Abou-El-Ezz Eng. Coordinator

26 Fiji Peoples Community Network

27 Germany University of Constance  Dieter Kief

28 Women in Europe for a Common Future Alexandra Caterbow Coordinator, Chemicals and Health

29 Ghana Ecological Restorations Emmanuel Odjam- Akumatey Executive Director

30 Hungary Clean Air Action Group Andras Lukacs President

31 Greenpeace Gergely Simon

32 India Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Dharmesh Shah

33 New Socialist Initiative (NSI) India Bonojit Hussain

34 Occupational and Environmental Health network of India  Mohit Gupta Coordinator

35 Peoples Training And Research Centre Jagdish Patel

36 The Other Media Madhumita Dutta Corporate Accountability Desk

37 Indonesia Federation of Independent Trade Union (GSBI) Rudi Hb Daman Chair

38 Indonesia Toxics-Free Network Yuyun Ismawati; Goldman Prize 2009 Coordinator

39 Institut Perempuan (Women’s Institute) Ellin Program Coordinator

40 Valentina Sagala Director

41 International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID) Wahyu Susilo Program Coordinator

42 Papua Traditional Council Leonard Imbiri General Secretary

43 PERGERAKAN Shantoy Hades Head of International Networks

44 Sedane Labour Resource Centre Syarif Arifin

45 Solidaritas Perempuan (Women Solidarity) Aliza Yuliana Program Coordinator

46 The Indonesian Anti Discrimination Movement (GANDI)

47 YTLI and Yamakindo Blanche Director

48 Independent Committee for Election Monitoring Pipit Apriani Foreign Affairs Officer

49 Migrant CARE  Wahyu Susilo Founding Member

50 Japan Citizens Against Chemical Pollution Takeshi Yasuma Chemicals Policy Analyst

51 Japan Occupational Safety and Health Resource Center  Sugio Furuya Secretary General

52 Malaysia All Women’s Action Scoeity (AWAM) Ho Yocklin Acting President/Deputy President

53 Building and Wood workers’ International Shelly Wolya Asia Pacific Regional Office

54 Consumer Association of Penang Mageswari Sangaralingam Research Director

55 Electronic Industry Employees’ Union Western Region Peninsular Malaysia  Saharudin Adnan

56 Labour Resource Centre (LRC),  Saharudin Adnan Organizier

57 Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor Irene Xavier

58 Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends of the Earth)  S.M. Mohamed Idris President

59 Sarawak Dayak Iban association Sarawak   SADIA HQ

60 WIRDA MALAYSIA Zuraida Kamarudin

61 Mexico CAATA Fernando Bejarano

62 CEREAL David Foust Rodríguez

63 Colibri Consulting Michael Conroy Co-Director

64 Nepal General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions  Ramesh Badal Secretary , Department of Foreign Affairs

65 Nepal Policy Institute Gopal Siwakoti ‘Chintan’

66 Water and Energy Users’ Federation-Nepal

67 Netherlands ABVAKABO FNV Bert Giskes

68 GoodElectronics Network Pauline Overeem Coordinator

69 New Zealand Pesticide Action Network Aotearoa New Zealand Meriel Watts, PhD Coordinator

70 UNITE Union Duncan Allan

71 Pakistan Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research

72 Philippines Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research Anna Leah Escresa

73 Kilusang Mayo Uno Miles Quero-Asa Secretary, International Dept

74 Migrante International Gina Esguerra Secretary General

75 National Coalition for the Protection of Workers’ Rights Marlon Torres

76 Solidarity of Cavite Workers Jojit

77 The Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy Amira Rasul Director

78 Russia EcoAccord Program on Chemical Safety Olga Speranskaya Director, PhD Goldman Prize 2009

79 Singapore Think Centre Ted Tan Executive Secretary

80 Spain Mercuriados Servando Pérez-Dominguez President

81 University of Valladolid Santiago Cáceres Industrial Engineering Faculty

82 Sri Lanka National Free Trade Union Leon Joseph

83 Ceylon Plantation Worker’s Union Menaha Kandasamy

84 Red Flag Women’s Movement S. Anandi

85 Cendi  Z. Faizun

86 Sweden Genombrott Cooperative Consultants Jerker Thorsell

87 Svenska Livs Sten-Olof Svensson

88 Fair Trade Center Charlie Aronsson Project leader-makeITfair

89 Switzerland International Metalworkers’ Federation (IMF) Jenny Holdcroft Director, ICT,Electrical & Electronics,Aerospace

90 Taiwan CEFC Taipei  Paul Jobin Director

91 Citizen of the earth          Richie Leu

92 Hua-Mei Chiu

93 Environmental Jurists Association Echo Lin Secretary General

94 Green Consumers Foundation Jay Fang

95 Serve the People Association  Lennon Ying-Dah Wong International Coordinator

96 Taiwan Association for Victims of Occupational Injuries  Nien-Yun Liu Association for former RCA employees

97 The Society of Wilderness Hanlin Li

98 Thailand Committee for Asian Women  Theint

99 Human Rights Education Institute of Burma  Myo Min Director

100 mahidol university Andy Hall

101 Migrant Workers Union Junya (Lek) Yimprasert

102 Thai Labor Campaign Patchanee Kumnak

103 Worker  Hub For Change (WH4C) Pranom Somwong

104 Tunisia Association pour la Protection de l’Environnement et la Développement Durable de Bizete Najwa Bourawi, MD President

105 U.K. Communities Against Toxics Ralph Ryder Coordinator

106 Hazards Magazine Rory O’Neill Editor

107 National Hazards Campaign Hilda Palmer Chair

108 PHASE II Grace Morrison

109 Jim McCourt

110 Public Interest Consultants Alan Watson, PhD  President

111 Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior  Jenny Chan

112 Uganda Uganda Network on Toxic Free Malaria Control  Ellady Muyambi Secretary General

113 USA AFGE 3172 Howard Egerman

114 AFSCME Council 57 Nadia Bledsoe

115 AFSCME Local 3299 Danielle Di Silverio

116 AIHA-NCS Susan Eckhardt

117 Alaska Community Action on Toxics Pamela Miller Executive Director

118 Alliance of Forest Workers and Harvesters Carl Wilmsen

119 American Public Health Association Tim Morse Chair, Occupational Health Section

120 AmericanHealthStudies.org Paul Connett Director

121 Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization  Linda Reinstein President & CEO

122 ATU Local 1555 Antonette Bryant

123 Basel Action Network James Puckett Executive Director

124 California Alliance for Retired Americans Tom Rankin

125 California Department of Public Health Faith Raider

126 California Labor Federation Mitch Seaman

127 Carpenter & Mayfield Constance Carpenter Attorney

128 Center for Environmental Health Michael Green

129 Chinese Progressive Association Ka Yan Cheung

130 Shawsan Liu Lead Organizer

131 City University of New York Immanuel Ness Professor

132 Communications Workers of America David LeGrande Director, Occupational Safety and Health

133 Cook County Ambulatory & Community Health Network  Rachel Rubin MD, MPH

134 CWA Carlos Celis union worker

135 CWA 9415 Karin Hart

136 Don’t Waste Arizona Stephen Brittle President

137 EBASE Aditi Vaidya

138 Environmental Health Strategy Center Michael Belliveau Executive Director

139 Filipino Community Center Mario de Mira

140 Fluoride Action Network Paul Connett, Phd Director

141 Foundation Earth Randy Hayes Executive Director

142 Friends of the Earth Brent Blackwelder President Emeritus

143 George Washington University Celeste Monforton School of Public Health & Health Services

144 Ginzberg Productions    Abby Ginzberg Producer

145 Global Community Monitor Denny Larson Executive Director

146 Hesperian Foundation Todd Jailer

147 Hesperian Health Guides  Miriam Lara

148 History of Silicon Valley Glenna Mathews Historian

149 IAM 1546 Garry Horrocks

150 International Campaign for Responsible Technology Ted Smith Coordinator

151 International Chemical Workers Union Council/UFCW  John Morawetz

152 International Longshore & Warehouse Union Peter Olney

153 Investor Environmental Health Network Sanford Lewis Counsel

154 Madera Group Kath Delaney Founder & Principal

155 Maquiladora Health & Safety Support Network Garrett Brown

156 Minnesota Global Justice Project David Pellow

157 Mujeres por La Paz Diana Crowder

158 Mujeres Unidas y Activas Carmen Denis

159 Jeannette Henriquez

160 New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) Joel Shufro Executive Director

161 Occidental College Robert Gottlieb Professor

162 San Francisco City College Bill Shields Labor & Community Studies

163 San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation Anthony Stefani

164 San Jose Peace & Justice Center Charlotte Casey Board member

165 San Jose State University Alberta Jimmenez

166 Hilary Nixon, Ph.D. Department of Urban & Regional Planning

167 San Mateo County Labor Council Shelley Kessler Executive Officer

168 Santa Clara University Dr. Chad Raphael Professor & Department Chair

169 Science and Environmental Health Network Ted Schlettler

170 SEIU Local 1021 Lorraine Thiebaud

171 Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition Sheila Davis Executive Director

172 SUNY-Downstate School of Public Health Paul Landsbergis Associate Professor

173 Trans-Pacific Environmental Action Network  Wenling Tu

174 Tufts University Beth Rosenberg

175 UAW/Local 2324 (Retired) Albert Sargis

176 UC Berkeley Labor Center Ken Jacobs

177 UCLA   Judith Sweeny

178 UCLA Labor Occupational Safety & Health Program  Linda Delp

179 Univ Calif UPTE-CWA 9119 Joan Lichterman

180 Univ Mass Lowell Charles Levenstein Professor Emeritas of Work Environment

181 University of California Mairi Hartooni

182 Wellington Onyeawe

183 Amy Kyle School of Public Health

184 University of California Irvine BongKyoo Choi Center for Occupational and Environment Health

185 University of California, Berkeley Juliann Sum

186 Laura Stock

187 Valeria Velazquez

188 Yesenia Prudo

189 University of California, Santa Cruz Ravi Rajan

190 University of Massachusetts Lowell Craig Slatin Professor

191 Thomas Estabrook Worker Health Educator

192 USW Rhonda Little

193 WILPF San Jose CA Branch  Shirley Lin Kinoshita

194 Worksafe Amanda Hawes Board Chair

195 Gail Bateson Executive Director

196 Pattricia Quinlan

197 Tiffany Crain

* 197 signatures from 176 public interest NGOs and academia out of 39 Countries

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A new petition has been created by international supporters of SAMSUNG electronics worker-victims. The text is below.
Background:
Over the past two decades, Samsung has become one of the most dominant electronics companies in the world, and is now a global leader in semiconductors, flat panel displays, mobile phones, and television production.

Sadly, this rapid rise to global dominance has come with serious consequences for the workers who produce the products – recent reports indicate that about 100 workers – mostly young women – have been stricken with cancer – mostly blood cancers – and at least 30 of them have died – making this the one of the largest known electronics cancer clusters in the world. (See http://tinyurl.com/2bl5c8a for more information).

Samsung has denied all responsibility for these illnesses and the Korean government has declined to declare the cancers “work related” and refuses to disclose results of its investigation of Samsung. In response, a strong support movement led by the victims and their families has emerged in Korea and around the world and is seeking justice for those who have suffered from occupational illness.

We the undersigned express our support for the workers and their families and call on the Korean government and Samsung to commit to the following principles in addressing this situation:

•Samsung should publicly disclose all of the ingredients of the chemical substances and toxic information about the materials and processes used in production in its facilities in Korea and throughout the world (“the right-to-know”) – the company should not try to hide behind blanket claims of “trade secrets”; this information should also be made available through regular hazard communication to the workers;

•Samsung should disclose all industrial hygiene monitoring and exposure records in its facilities, documenting which substances are being monitored and the results of that monitoring;

•Samsung should disclose all occupational health monitoring protocols and records for its workers, making sure to protect confidentiality; this should include the extent and duration of each worker’s exposure, as well as health outcomes data (morbidity and mortality) such as a mortality data file, corporate health records, and insurance records;

•Samsung and the Korean government should disclose the protocols and commit to disclose the complete results of all occupational health studies undertaken, including any studies done by outside consultants, such as ENVIRON; workers and their chosen experts need to be included in ongoing review of the protocols and study methods, which should be available for public review and comment, including submission of pertinent data from outside parties at each stage of any such study, including the review of and right to comment on any draft findings;

•Samsung should guarantee its workers that they have the right to refuse unsafe or unhealthy work and that they are protected from retaliation for exercising those rights (right-to-act);

•Samsung should phase out the use of toxic substances in their production when there are safer alternatives available;

•The South Korean government should assure fair compensation for all of the victims and insist that Samsung accept responsibility for its actions.

To SIGN the petition, follow this link:

http://www.gopetition.com/petition/40246.html

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Korean electronics workers fight for their health

Dr. Jeong-ok Kong MD, MS has been a leading figure among Korean
occupational health professionals involved in numerous research projects
and campaigns with labor unions and grassroots organizations of workers.
These projects have ranged from work on musculoskeletal disorders, to job
stress-related physical and mental health problems, to chemical exposures.
Dr. Kong currently works as a fulltime activist with the Korean Institute of
Labor Safety and Health, (KILSH), whose activities center on workplace-
oriented action, and the development of worker expertise and leadership.
Dr. Kong is the recipient of the 2010 International Health & Safety Award
from the Occupational Health Section of the American Public Health
Association.
Dr. Kong’s talk will focus on the most recent struggle by cancer victims of
Samsung semiconductor plants.  This international campaign, coordinated
by SHARPS (Supporters of Health And Right of People in Semiconductor
Industry), aims to draw attention to and prevent cancer and other diseases
among young workers in Samsung plants in Korea.
Monday, November 15
5:30-7pm
UCSF School of Nursing, 5th Floor, Room N-517
Tuesday, November 16
12 noon
(arrive early to go through building security)
Oakland State Office Building
1515 Clay Street, Room 15 (Second Floor), Oakland, CA
5:30 pm
Hesperian
1919 Addison Street, Suite 204, Berkeley, CA
For more information, contact:
Garrett Brown, 510-558-1014, garrettdbrown@comcast.net
For information on events in the South Bay with Dr. Kong, contact:
Ted Smith, 408-242-6707, tsmith@igc.org
Sponsoring organizations include:
Hesperian • Maquiladora Health and Safety Support Network • UC Berkeley Labor Occupational Health Program
UC Center for Occupational and Environmental Health • UCSF Occupational and Environmental Medicine
UCSF Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing

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In July 2010, workers from Samsung electronics factories including Samsung Electromechanics Philippines heard about the struggle of leukemia victims in Korea who had worked for Samsung.

In these two video messages, workers who faced unjust layoffs (with pretext of ‘not meeting requirements’ despite years of experience) and unsafe working conditions speak to Korean Samsung worker victims. One of the videos is from the mother of a laid-off worker.

(also see lower right of blog homepage)

http://dotsub.com/view/8c2f331a-2d4f-4222-b7f6-59a5796b033

Samsung is the world’s largest maker of memory chips, LCD flat screen televisions, and the number two maker of mobile phones. Group sales increased 17% to 37.9 trillion won.

The company boasts of its outstanding sales and profits: http://www.samsung.com/us/aboutsamsung/news/newsIrRead.do?news_ctgry=irnewsrelease&page=1&news_seq=19937&rdoPeriod=ALL&from_dt=&to_dt=&search_keyword=

Meanwhile, to their workers, Samsung cries ‘global crisis’, keeping workers illegally on contract basis for as long as seven or more years and brutally terminating their jobs at will, all along ensuring also that the workers can never succeed in forming a union to defend their rights.

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Unionists and activists from Communication Workers of America, the Santa Clara Central Labor Council, San Jose State University, Santa Clara University, and the San Jose Peace and Justice Center leafletted outside the Samsung factory in San Jose on May 25 – workers were receptive and interested and some even knew already about what was happening in Korea.

An impressive display of solidarity linking the US and Asia!

Samsung cannot hide forever from victims demanding justice.

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Just published in the latest issue of Hazards (UK quarterly pro-worker journal on health and safety issues) –

an excellent double-page photo spread and article:

Samsung’s shame – Hazards photofile, issue 110, April-June 2010

http://www.hazards.org/haz110/samsungsshame.htm

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Every word and action that calls on the Samsung corporation and Korean government to protect workers and compensate for their work-induced illnesses will give strong encouragement to the workers and hasten the day of justice for the victims!

If you also want to help, we suggest the following:

1) take a picture containing any kind of symbol of Samsung and send a protest message to either this government or Samsung.
 
The examples of messages are:
   “The victims must get National workers compensation as soon as possible”
   “Samsung must accept responsibility for the victims, not conceal the facts”
   “The government should not ask for evidence of work-relatedness, but give compensation to the victims”
   “Workers of Samsung, don’t wait anymore. Speak out your voices, and unite!”
   “We will remember all the victims to change Samsung, to change this world.”
 
There are so many symbols of Samsung around. People could take a picture of the company logo from their possessions and the street.
Among them, our recommendation is the Samsung headquarter building or their service center named “Samsung Digital Plaza”.
 
Once people take a picture, we will suggest them to send the picture to SHARPS or to upload the picture at our website by themselves.
We will collect all the pictures and use them for our publicity actions, for example, an exhibition at May day rally or Ji-yeon’s memorial event, or a photo stories at our blog or our news letter.

I think people can find out the logo of Samsung easily at any country. Of course it will be great If people can make a protest rally in front of Korean embassy or huge factory of Samsung, but very small symbol will be okay too. Because even only one person can participate this kind of solidarity action.

2) Make your action on May 18 – May 18th will be the 49th day from the day of Ji-yeon’s death.
There is a Korean trandition, a mixture of Buddhism and Confucianism culture, named “49-jae”, pronounced as “Sah-sip-kwo-jae”.
At the 49th day from a death, the families have a service for the repose of the dead to a better place.
People believe this service can help the dead go to the heaven not to the hell, and make “the future life” better.

SHARPS will have a memorial event for Ji-yeon at her 49-jae, in front of the Samsung headquarter building. We will pray for Ji-yeon’s peaceful rest, and for better future for all the victims – it means the future without exploitation by Capitals, without poverty, without suppression of labor right, and without toxic chemicals. It will not be religious. We just take the opportunity to let people remember what happened and to speak out our voices.

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