Belarusian government plays dangerous game, Alyaksandr Yarashuk says
"The logic of the Belarusian government's behavior follows the logic of the Myanmar's government. It is possible that the ILO [International Labor Organization]following this logic may call on democratic governments to impose economic sanctions against Belarus. The last word to be said by the Belarusian government".
Alyaksandr Yarashuk, chairman of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BCDTU), commented on the 336 report of the Committee on Freedom of Association (CFA) on the violation of trade unions' rights in Belarus.
The CFA of the International Labor Organization considered "the Belarusian problem" at a meeting of the Bureau of International Labor Affairs in Geneva on November 1-2.
The Committee has analysed the situation with the rights' violation of Belarusian trade unions starting from 2004. The CFA states that the Belarusian government ignores all the recommendations given. The Committee once again advised the government to consider the recommendations, to give an answer and to improve the situation.
Mr. Yarashuk talked about possible consequences of ignoring the ILO's reccommendations in an interview with UDF.BY.
- The main reason for this tough decision of the Committee on Freedom of Association of the ILO is that the tendency of violating rights of independent trade unions is only growing. This year appeared to be very significant. The example of Hranit [the crushed stone mining company] has shown the catastrophic situation of employees in Belarus, who are deprived of the right to establish trade unions for their rights' protection.
The Belarusian government ignored the report of the CFA on the background of violating trade unions' rights, which resulted in the tough reaction of the ILO.
The ILO made a serious and voluminous analysis of old and new facts of violating trade unions' rights starting from 2004.
- Alyaksandr, I would say that the Belarusian government principally and consistently ignores all the ILO's recommendations. But any patience may be lost sooner or later. What the ignoring of the ILO's position can lead to?
- The government plays a dangerous game. It shouldn't challenge the ILO so frankly. The ILO may behave itself either as if nothing happens, or to take measures for improving the situation.
The ILO has the last mean - a procedure stipulated by Article 33 of its Constitution. If the government frankly ignores all the ILO's recommendations, the International Labor Organization can take any steps in order to eliminate the violation of trade unions' rights.
The procedure was used in the history of the ILO only once - with respect to Myanmar. The ILO used the article to call for economic sanctions against the country, which eventually forced the Asian country's government to respect the rights of independent trade unions and to start political liberalization in Myanmar.
The logic of the Belarusian government's behavior follows the logic of the Myanmar's government. It is possible that the ILO following this logic may call on democratic governments to impose economic sanctions against Belarus. The last word to be said by the Belarusian government.