Belarus: only dialogue can end the national crisis

The only independent union association in Belarus – the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP) – has called for an all-inclusive national dialogue to overcome the “acute political and socio-economic crisis”.

In a statement at its XI Congress, the BKDP said: “Only negotiations and a full-scale and open dialogue between opponents representing the entire Belarusian society will make it possible to achieve this goal [reconciliation, unity and development]. Without such a dialogue, Belarus will come to a dead end.”

The BKDP Congress also requested that:

the government negotiate on equal terms, stop repression and release those sentenced for participating in peaceful protests;Automatic word wrap
the international community, including Russia, help to launch a dialogue within the country;Automatic word wrap
the International Labour Organization use its experience and resources to contribute to the national reconciliation process; andAutomatic word wrap
the global trade union movement provide solidarity support to foster the national dialogue.

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: “Democratic trade unions are a necessary element of national development and stability. It is a part of the solution for re-launching Belarus in a way that works for all of its citizens. We have witnessed in many cases how dialogue with democratic unions has contributed to reconciliation and peace. That can also be the path for Belarus.

“We fully support the BKDP effort to start the process of reconciliation in Belarus to achieve the improvements in the country that the people of Belarus deserve, starting with the guarantee of basic rights for working people. We stand ready to assist the BKDP in any way that we can.”

Activists from Belarus’s independent trade unions have been subject to a campaign of repression, including detentions, dismissals and heavy fines to trade union activists, as highlighted by the ITUC.

Recently, IndustriAll has reported further attacks on union leaders and members with someforced to flee the country and others fired for their activism.