The American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Trade Unions (AFL-CIO) supports trade unions and workers of Belarus in their struggle for democracy and justice on Independence Day.
In its letter, sent on behalf of 12.5 million members, the organization expressed its deep concern about the arrests and harsh sentences of trade union activists and leaders fighting for the right to organize independent unions.
The American trade union association promises to take all measures, including the application of Article 33 of the Charter of the International Labor Organization (ILO), to force the regime to fulfill its obligations in the field of labor rights.
The organization also calls on the government of Belarus to immediately release all imprisoned trade union activists and to respect their right to organize independent trade unions and conduct collective negotiations.
«Dear Sisters and Brothers of Belarus,
The AFL-CIO, on behalf of its 12.5 million members, greets the trade unionists and workers of Belarus on Freedom Day, celebrated by those fighting for democracy who mark the independence of the Belarusian Democratic Republic in 1918.
On this Freedom Day, our thoughts are with our trade union brothers and sisters unjustly imprisoned by the Belarus regime, especially the Chair of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP) Aliaksandr Yarashuk; Vice-Chair Siarhei Antusevich; BKDP Press Secretary Iryna But-Husaim; the former Chair of the Independent Trade Union of Radio and Electronics Workers (REP) Hennadz Fiadynich; and at least 31 other union leaders and activists imprisoned for demanding their right to organize independent unions not controlled by the government.
Across Belarus, despite these arrests and harsh sentences, workers continue to insist on their right to form unions and peacefully protest the actions of their oppressive government. Considering the Lukashenka regime’s repeated violations of internationally recognized core labor standards, the AFL-CIO will take actions to support the application of Article 33 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Constitution, to sanction the Belarus Government for its egregious human rights violations.
The AFL-CIO will continue to support your struggle for democracy and justice. We will take actions to call on the Government of Belarus to release all jailed trade unionists and worker activists immediately and respect the rights to organize independent unions and collectively bargain without intimidation, harassment, violence, or obstruction.»