Belarus KGB detains trade union leaders

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(21 April 2022) EPSU protest the arrest of trade union leaders in Belarus, 19 April. We asked for their immediate release.

The situation in Belarus for independent trade union has seriously deteriorated. 19 April 2022, the leadership of the Belarusian Congress of Trade Unions (BKDP) -  the President of BKDP Aliaksandr Yarashuk , BKDP Vice-President Siarhei Antusevich, President of Free Trade Union of Metal Workers (SPM) Aliaksandr Bukhvostau, President of Free Trade Union of Belarus (SPB) Mikalaj Sharakh - were arrested by the KGB.

Other colleagues were also arrested, including Yana Malash, Vitali Chychmarou, Hanna Dus, Vadzim Payvin, Mikhail Hromau, Ihar Komlik (released today), Yury Beliakou, Vasil Berasneu, Hennadz Fiadynich, Dzmitry Barodka, Miraslau Sabchuk, Iryna Bud-Husaim.

Others like Aleh Padalinski,  international secretary of BKDP, and Alena  Yaskova, BKDP lawyer, are not answering their phones. Several others are also not reachable and their location is not known. We suspect they have been arrested as well.

The trade union premises of the BKDP in Minsk were searched. We understand that the premises of the Free trade union of Belarus (SPB), Free trade union of Metal workers (SPM)  and Union of Radio-Electronic Workers (REP) were also searched. The security forces also searched homes of the trade union leaders and employees. The searches covered Personal Computers (PCs), flash cards, personal documents, passports, bank cards including those of family members, SIM cards of foreign mobile operators and trade union paraphernalia.

These attacks are yet more examples of the ongoing anti-trade union campaign of the Lukashenko regime. They are possibly retaliation for the critique of the independent trade unions in criticising Lukashenko and the Belarusian government’s support of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. That war is having a serious impact not only on Ukraine but also on workers in Russia and Belarus.

These developments are deeply concerning. We asked for the immediate release of our colleagues.

We stand in solidarity with our trade union colleagues.Reaction of ETUC

For our letter

-  For the Position of the Center for Constitutionalism and Human Rights

-  For Reaction of ETUC

-  For the Position of the ILO on the arrest of trade unionists

For the position of Amnesty International