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Exhibition in Hanover draws attention to the problem of trade union prisoners in Belarus

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

An exhibition dedicated to political prisoners in Belarus was opened yesterday at the headquarters of one of the largest trade unions in Germany, IG BCE. Among the more than one and a half thousand political prisoners in Belarus are at least fifty trade unionists from democratic trade unions.

This event draws the attention of the German public to the violations of workers' rights and the terror against the labor movement in Belarus. Over the past three years, hundreds of trade unionists who have expressed their opposition to the violence and lies in the country have been arrested and imprisoned. Dozens of leaders and activists of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP) have been arrested for their anti-war stance. All four independent trade unions and the BKDP were summarily liquidated and the activities of unregistered trade unions were banned. Arrests at companies in Belarus take place on a daily basis.

For this reason, the International Labor Organization (ILO) has taken an unprecedented measure in relation to Belarus - the application of Article 33 of the Constitution, which gives ILO members the right to take all measures to ensure the implementation of recommendations to the Belarusian government.

The exhibition was opened by Birgit Biermann, Vice-President of the Union of Miners, Chemical and Energy Workers (IG BCE), who emphasized the importance of the event:

- Sometimes in the midst of the news agenda, the war in Ukraine and Israel, we lose sight of the fates of these people who are in prison. That is why the work of Salidarnast is so important. We understand how difficult this work is and we are ready to help you.

She recalled that the IG BCE Council adopted a resolution in 2022 calling for the release of politically imprisoned trade union leaders in Belarus. Equally important is the demand for the free operation of democratic trade unions in Belarus and the demand for the restoration of workers' rights.

Maksim Pazniakou, Deputy chairperson of BKDP, thanked the German government, trade unions and individual public figures for their support in obtaining asylum in Germany for trade union activists and their families. He spoke about the situation in Belarus and the fate of the imprisoned trade union activists and emphasized the importance of continuing the struggle for a free and democratic Belarus.

In a more formal atmosphere, a meeting took place between Salidarnast activists and the leadership of IG BCE, where the parties exchanged ideas for cooperation both within Germany and in international trade union activities.

The exhibition in Hanover will last three weeks. IG BCE plans to attract the attention not only of union members, but also of the general public. The opening of the exhibition was attended by trade union representatives as well as representatives of the media, the Belarusian diaspora and activists of other trade unions from Lower Saxony.

It should be noted that a similar exhibition has already taken place at the DGB headquarters in Bremen. After Hanover, it is planned to open it in the DGB headquarters in Berlin as well as in other national trade union centers in various European countries.

Anyone interested can visit the event free of charge: Koenigsworther Pl. 6, 30167 Hanover

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