About Freedom of Association in Belarus: Results of the International Labor Conference

Photo: https://www.industriall-union.org/ru/globalnyy-prizyv-k-belarusi-osvobodit-zaderzhannyh-profaktivistov

On 11 June 2022, the International Labor Conference approved the decisions of the Committee on the Application of Standards concerning the violations of fundamental ILO Convention on Freedom of Association (No. 87) by the Republic of Belarus.

The Committee noted the use of extreme violence by the Belarusian authorities to suppress peaceful protests and meetings as well as the imprisonment and ill-treatment of workers in detention.

The Committee expressed concern at the escalation of measures used to repress independent trade union activities and demanded that cases of intimidation or physical violence be promptly investigated and that all trade union leaders and members arrested for participating in peaceful assemblies or arrested for exercising their civil liberties be immediately released. In particular, the Committee demanded that the charges against Aliaksandr Yaroshuk; Siarhei Antusevich, Hennadz Fedynich, Mikalai Sharakh, Aliaksandr Bukhvostau, Zinaida Mikhniuk be dropped.

The Committee decided to refer the question to the Administrative Council of the organization for consideration of further measures, stipulated by the ILO Charter, to ensure the convention observance by the Republic of Belarus.

During the 18 years of considering the situation of labour rights in Belarus, the ILO has used all the instruments of its Constitution. Except one, the application of Article 33 is an appeal to ILO members to use all possible mechanisms to induce a violating State to abide by its obligations. This is the only sanction mechanism that exists in the UN system. Its application is within the exclusive competence of the Governing Body of the ILO, which has applied it only once in history (Myanmar, 1999). The next session of the Governing Body will be held in early November 2022.