Kazakhstan: Statement of the ITUC Pan-European Regional Council

The 11th Executive Committee of the Pan-European Regional Council debated the continuing trade union rights violations in the Republic of Kazakhstan and unanimously condemned repression against leaders of the Confederation of the Independent Unions of Kazakhstan, its forced deregistration and non-respect of the fundamental principles of freedom of association in the country.

It is without precedent in regional and global practice that a trade union leader is condemned in this way simply for calling for a strike. Nurbek Kushekbaev, a leader of the Confederation, was sentenced to 2.5 years of imprisonment and a fine of US$ 80,000.

Emin Eleusinov, shop steward of LLP ‘Oil Construction Company’ faces false criminal charges while Larisa Kharkova, CNTUK President, is under ongoing interrogation. Other activists are under pressure from government officials, employers and the police. With these attacks, the government places the country among the ranks of worst violators of trade union rights.

The PERC Executive Committee called on Kazakhstan’s President Nazarbaev to take the necessary steps to ensure that violations of freedom of association are stopped immediately. In particular, the deregistration of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Kazakhstan should be revoked and any further deregistration procedures in relation to the it and its affiliates suspended, until the national legislation concerning trade unions is brought into full compliance with ILO Convention 87. It called on him to immediately and unconditionally release the trade unionists facing arrest and criminal charges for trade union activities.

The Committee appeals to all affiliates to express solidarity and support with detained, harassed and repressed union leaders and to convey the trade union position of non-acceptance of trade union rights violations by democratic countries to the governments that cooperate with Kazakhstan and to businesses that operate in the country.