ILO: Belarus systematically violate the rights of workers and trade unions

The ILO Committee on the Application of Standards call on the Belarusian government to “immediately restore full respect for the rights and freedoms of workers” and “to guarantee adequate protection or immunity from any form of administrative detention for trade union officials who carry out their activities and enjoy their civil liberties, including freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.” The committee "with deep concern and regret" drew attention to "numerous statements about extreme forms of violence and suppression of speeches by participants in peaceful protests and strikes."


On June 18, the Committee on the Application of Standards approved a conclusion on the implementation by Belarus of the norms of Convention No. 87 of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on freedom of association and protection of the right to join trade unions. The Committee “expressed deep concern” that the Belarusian government had not taken action to implement most of the 2004 Commission of Inquiry recommendations regarding Convention No. 87.


The government of Belarus called on “to take measures to release all detained trade unionists and to refrain from any persecution of those who participated in peaceful protests, to refrain from arresting, using violence or intimidation against trade union leaders who are engaged in their legitimate activities.” The Committee called on Belarus to immediately conduct an independent investigation of all reported cases of intimidation and use of violence.


The committee also called on the government at the legislative or law enforcement level to remove obstacles to trade union registration and “in the strongest possible manner” called on Belarus “to refrain from any interference in the process of union formation in private enterprises, to abandon calls for the creation of trade union organizations under the threat of liquidation of companies, and also openly declare that the creation of trade unions remains precisely the right of workers.”


Belarus was called on to bring legislation on mass events and other acts in line with the principles of freedom of assembly, to abandon sanctions against trade unionists who participated in peaceful protests, not to prevent trade unions from receiving assistance from foreign organizations, etc.


“The committee is disappointed with the slow progress in implementing the recommendations of the commissions of inquiry,” the conclusion says. “Recent events show that the government has taken a step back in terms of obligations to comply with the norms of the convention. Therefore, the committee calls on the government, before the next conference, to take all necessary measures to fully implement the remaining recommendations of the commission of inquiry. The Committee invites the government to use the technical assistance of the ILO.”


Belarus was once again included in the list of countries that systematically violate the rights of workers and trade unions.


Protest in Belarus. Photo by Jana Nizovtseva

Source: Charter97.org