Defending workers' rights to freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression
The employed population is the largest population group in Belarus, whose rights have been systematically violated by the state for many years: dismissals for cause at any time, forced labour in the form of mandatory work placement after graduation, mandatory participation in clean-up events ("subbotnik") and inclusion in the list of ‘social parasites’ for being unemployed.
After the presidential elections in August 2020, the situation has become much worse.
Currently, the state has liquidated all independent trade unions in Belarus, which focused on protecting workers' rights and freedoms. Workers who participated in peaceful assemblies and exercised their legal right to freedom of expression are discriminated against en masse: their contracts at state-owned enterprises are not extended, or they are dismissed for cause allegedly (in fact – for serving administrative arrests), unbearable working conditions are created for them, nonpunitive measures are applied arbitrarily. Moreover, it is legally impossible to organise a strike in Belarus. And the above-mentioned violations of workers’ rights and freedoms are just the most visible ones.
Our lawyers represent the workers dismissed from state-owned enterprises after August 2020 before the UN Human Rights Committee. The formal reasons for our clients’ dismissal are the following:
- taking part in a strike;
- absence without leave due to serving administrative arrest caused by politically motivated prosecution;
- holding an independent trade union membership.
We defend workers' rights independently and in cooperation with other civil society organisations.