The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) sent an open appeal to the Prime Minister of Belarus Roman Golovchenko. In it the secretary general of the ETUC Esther Lynch expressed her concern about the massacre of the trade union leaders and activists in Belarus and demanded their immediate release.
Dear Prime Minister,
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and its affiliates are deeply concerned by the negative developments relating to the situation of imprisoned trade union leaders in Belarus and demand the immediate release of all imprisoned trade union leaders and representatives.
We read with great dismay and at the same time indignation the news that the trial of Aliaksandr Yarashuk, chairman of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP), deputy chairman Sergei Antusevich and accountant Iryna But-Husaim is scheduled for December 20, 2022.
This is yet another shameful attempt to silence the unions that fight for workers' rights in Belarus by threatening them, in at least one case, with up to 12 years in prison.
The ETUC reiterates the request of the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions (CEACR) "to release all trade unionists who remain in detention and to withdraw all charges related to participation in peaceful protests and industrial action", and the call of the ILO Governing Body "to allow the ILO to clarify as a matter of urgency the conditions of arrest and detention and the welfare of trade unionists".
The ETUC is particularly concerned about the pending trial, given Belarus' poor record in ensuring the right to a fair trial, as recently reported by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus. Therefore, the PAC also calls upon you to allow international observation of the trial scheduled for December 20, 2022 in Minsk.
In conclusion, Prime Minister, I would like to recall a quote from your President, Mr. Lukashenko, that "The work of government must be based on treating people fairly," and we urge you to be true to those words and put an end to the persecution of our trade union colleagues unjustly detained, and stop this shameful and unfair trial.
Until then, rest assured that the PAC (and its affiliates) will continue to stand in solidarity with imprisoned activists, the independent trade union movement and the citizens of Belarus to ensure their basic human and trade union rights are fully respected.
Secretary General of the ETUC