Belarus: ITUC demands immediate end to anti-union trials and access to imprisoned union leaders

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has demanded urgent action to stop the next stage in the systematic persecution of independent trade unions in Belarus.

This month, the trials are due to continue in the Supreme Court of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP) and its affiliates: the Belarusian Independent Trade Union (BNP), the Union of Radio and Electronics Workers (REP), the Free Trade Union of Belarus (SPB) and the Free Trade Union of Metalworkers (SPM). The government wants to declare the BKDP and all independent unions ‘extremist organisations’ as it now seeks to terminate their activities after arresting leaders and activists.

The ITUC understands that criminal trials against detained union leaders will also start in July.

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: “These sham trials are particularly worrying. The Belarusian authorities and judiciary have shown a total disregard for due process and the basic rights of working people, as they seek to eradicate the independent trade union movement.

“All international bodies and governments with influence in Belarus must intervene and call on the authorities to stop this judicial harassment of trade unions and their leaders. This also means the release of all trade union leaders and members arrested for carrying out legitimate trade union activities and the dropping all related charges.

“Most urgently, any trials must be observed by ILO officials who must be allowed to visit the detained trade unionists to ascertain their state of health, the conditions of arrest and detention.”