The leadership of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) appealed to the Director-General of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Gilbert Houngbo with a request to assist in the release of Belarusian trade union leaders in prison.
On January 18, ITUC Deputy General Secretary Owen Tudor sent an official letter to the new Director-General of the ILO. In his appeal, he spoke about the prosecution and closure of democratic trade unions, as well as the prison sentences received by trade union leaders and activists in Belarus.
"We remind that since April 2022 the Belarusian government has been carrying out systematic repression against independent trade unions in Belarus. The Belarusian authorities constantly call independent trade unions 'extremists' and 'Western agents' and conduct smear campaigns, making it clear that anyone associated with the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP) and its organizations, runs the risk of being prosecuted,” the letter says.
In addition to imprisonment, the international trade union movement is concerned about the conditions in which trade unionists are kept and their state of health:
"The Belarusian authorities have so far failed to grant access for a humanitarian visit to imprisoned trade union activists in order to clarify the conditions of their arrest and detention. We therefore urge you once again to call on the Belarusian government to allow the ILO to urgently visit imprisoned trade union activists. Urgently allow the ILO to visit imprisoned trade union activists, including Aliaksandr Yarashuk.
The ITUC also asked the ILO to ask the Government to provide all relevant information concerning the planned appeals and to arrange an ILO visit to observe the court proceedings together with representatives of the employers' and workers' secretariats. And also to bring this information to the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association and the Governing Body in due course and in the context of the ongoing discussions on the matter.