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Belarus among top ten worst countries for workers

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has released its 2024 Labour Rights Index rating countries in terms of their implementation of workers’ rights. Belarus, traditionally now, is among the world’s ten worst countries for workers.

A screenshot from the ITUC report
A screenshot from the ITUC report

The latest Labour Rights Index published annually by the ITUC points out that the number of countries where the rights to freedom of speech and assembly are limited continues to grow. Detentions and arrests of workers have been recorded in 74 countries out of 151. Last year, this figure stood at 69.

“In Belarus, Egypt, Hong Kong, and Sudan independent trade union movement has already been destroyed by the authorities through arbitrary dissolution and unlawful take-over. As a result, workers have been deprived of their most relevant freedom to create and join trade unions of their own choice”, says the report.

The Index notes that since April 2022 the Government of Belarus has intensified repressions against independent unions. Currently, 42 union activists have been arbitrarily detained or imprisoned, with many others deprived of their rights and freedoms. Trade union prisoners are put on the official lists of “extremists and terrorists” and are treated by the authorities as pariahs.

One of the imprisoned unionists is Aliaksandr Yarashuk, President of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP). He was sentenced to four years in prison on December 27, 2022. He is now held in a high security prison in the town of Mohiliev, where he is confined to his cell 23 hours a day and allowed only one four hour long visit and one parcel a year.

The shocking erosion of trade union and civil rights in the country has led the International Labour Conference (ILC) to adopt a Resolution on Belarus under Article 33 of the ILO Constitution in order to ensure the Government’s compliance with the ILO demands and recommendations.

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