The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, is aware, as is the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, of the reprisals that took place in Belarus against representatives of democratic trade unions.
He informed Esther Lynch, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation ETUC and PERC, about this in writing. Josep Borrell expressed his concern at the conviction and imprisonment of the leadership and an official of the Belarussian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions.
- I assure you that I am aware of these illegal actions of the Lukashenko regime. It is very worrying to observe further repressions against Belarusian society, which continue to persecute civil society, human rights defenders and trade union members. The EU calls for the immediate release of the unjustly detained trade union activists.
He noted that representatives of the European government are following the court hearings in these and other cases through the EU Delegation in Minsk.
- Following the latest instructions of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, our staff of the EU Delegation could neither enter the court building, nor meet with relatives and activists in and around the building," said the EU representative. - However, the colleagues of our delegation were present in front of the building to demonstrate their full support to the defendants in the closed trials.
He noted that the EU attaches paramount importance to freedom of association and is firmly committed to the promotion, effective implementation of relevant international labour standards.
"We have long been firmly committed to the effective implementation by Belarus of ILO Convention 87 on freedom of association, including trade union rights, in the context of international labour conferences and meetings of the ILO Governing Body, at which the EU and its member states have repeatedly made statements on the subject."
- The EU continues to hold the Lukashenko regime responsible for the political repression, the unlawful persecution and the gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms that it has committed," said Mr Borrell. - In this regard, the EU continues to stand by and support the people of Belarus, democratic forces and civil society as a whole, and expresses its solidarity with those unjustly detained. The EU will continue to follow the situation in Belarus closely, including through its representation in Minsk.