January 2023 – Leaders of independent trade unions have been sentenced by a court in Belarus to harsh prison terms up to nine years on politically motivated charges. At least 16 leaders and activists of independent unions have already been sentenced to lengthy prison terms or restriction of freedom.
This is how the state has responded to independent unions’ struggle for democracy and human rights in Belarus. Since the disputed presidential election in August 2020, independent unions in Belarus have been under constant attack.
IndustriALL general secretary Atle Høie says: “Convicting trade union leaders for exercising their legitimate right to freedom of association constitutes a grave violation of the principles of freedom of association. Trade union rights lose all meaning in the absence of full respect for those civil liberties enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, particularly concerning the right to freedom and security of the individual, freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of assembly, the right to a fair trial and the right to protection of trade union property”.
IndustriALL Global Union and IndustriAll European Trade Union are supporting the request of the ILO’s Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions (CEACR) to “release all trade unionists who remain in detention and to drop all charges related to participation in peaceful protests and industrial actions”.
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