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REP trade union wins victory at the UN

The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee has found violations of the rights to peaceful assembly and free expression of opinion of Hennadz Fiadynich, chairman of the Trade Union of Radioelectronic Industry Workers (REP).

Trade union lawyer Leanid Sudalenka, who defended the REP leader at the international level, was informed about the decision made in Geneva.

In 2016, Hennadz Fiadynich together with representatives of independent trade unions protested in the center of Minsk against the refusal of Minsk City Executive Committee to provide premises for a trade union meeting. The trade unionist was accused of holding an unauthorized mass event (Article 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offences), for which he was subsequently fined a substantial fine (6,300,000 rubles) by the court of Tsentralny district of Minsk.

Commenting on the decision taken in Geneva, Leanid Sudalenka noted the complete disregard of the international obligations of the country by the Belarusian law enforcers:

- The National Law on Mass Events, violation of which was imputed to Fedynich, cannot cancel the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Unfortunately, our arguments were not heard at the national level, after which a complaint was filed with the UN.

The trade union lawyer noted how at the stage of communication with the UN Committee official Minsk tried to avoid responsibility by accusing the trade union lawyer of not exhausting supervisory remedies (appeals to the prosecutor's office and court presidents), but this did not help Belarusian officials.

The jurisprudence and practice of the Human Rights Committee is based on the principle of not only accessibility but also effectiveness of remedies provided by the state. The oversight that still exists in Belarus does not meet this requirement, therefore, it is not effective.

Leanid Sudalenka also noted the large-scale repressions that started after 2020, which also affected independent trade unions. In 2021, the trade union lawyer himself was thrown into prison for 3 years, a year later Hennadz Fiadynich was arrested and sentenced to 9 years. According to the decision of the Supreme Court, the trade union organization of REP was also liquidated.

According to the decision, the Belarusian government is obliged to provide the trade union leader with effective legal remedies, including compensation for all expenses incurred in the case, as well as to change the national law on mass events so that the practice of its

application would not lead to such violations in the future.

Leanid Sudalenka, who was released last year, noted that the Republic of Belarus, unfortunately, became the only state in the XXI century to withdraw from the Optional Protocol, ratified at the international level by 117 states:

- In the new Belarus, all decisions taken in the UN will certainly be implemented, and the victims of violations will receive fair and reasonable compensation.

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