U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh calls for the release of trade union leaders, union members and political prisoners in Belarus.
- The US is deeply concerned that six trade union leaders have been sentenced to prison in closed trials in Belarus on charges of "harming national security", "inciting social hatred" and "establishing or participating in an extremist group". These actions are seriously damaging to the labour movement in Belarus.
On 27 December 2022 Aliaksandr Yarashuk, Siarhei Antusevich and Iryna Bud-Husaim, leaders of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions, were sentenced to imprisonment for one and a half to four years. On 5 January 2023, Hennadz Fiadynich, Vasil Berasneu and Vatslau Areshka, leaders of the Trade Union of Radio-Electronic Industry Workers, were sentenced to eight to nine years' imprisonment. All of these men suffer from poor health conditions that require specialised treatment. U.S. Secretary Walsh has called for their urgent release on humanitarian grounds.
- The serious deterioration of labour rights in Belarus continues. Democratic and independent trade unions are essential for a healthy, inclusive democracy and a flourishing economy," said the labour Secretary.
- We call on the Lukashenko regime in Belarus to put an end to human and labour rights violations, which include arbitrary arrests, acts of violence, harassment and intimidation against citizens of Belarus, including trade unionists, exercising their human and labour rights. In particular, we call for the immediate and unconditional release of all trade union leaders and members, as well as over 1,400 political prisoners unjustly imprisoned for participating in peaceful assemblies or exercising their fundamental freedoms.