Lizaveta Merliak, a representative of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions and chair of the Salidarnast Association, takes part in the 5th World Congress of the International Trade Union Confederation in Melbourne, Australia
As well as taking part in the Congress's main panel and the election of the ITUC General Secretary, she spoke in a panel discussion on building resilience in the face of oppression. Speakers included trade unionists from Hong Kong, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Belarus who had been forced to leave their countries because of persecution.
In her speech, Elizabeth spoke about her experience of fighting for workers' interests in an ever-tightening dictatorship.
Almost 30 years independent and free trade unions were in corrosive conditions under which year after year the rights of workers to free labor, freedom of speech, meetings and strikes were taken away from them, and today the rights to organize in trade unions were taken away.
In her speech she told about the closure of all democratic trade unions in Belarus and persecution of trade union leaders and activists. About those who today are sentenced to prison and those who are waiting for it. The situation is similar in Hong Kong, Afghanistan and Myanmar. So, only joint actions of workers can influence the situation.
At the end of her speech, a representative of Belarusian trade unions called for support for the recently launched international information campaign - Belarus: Stop the attacks on the unions - free jailed union activists now.