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Kyrgyzstan: Time to respect workers' rights - stop anti-union attacks

Kyrgyzstan is a small, mountainous and landlocked country in Central Asia. Fewer than seven million people live there. It is rarely mentioned on global news platforms.

In its most recent report in 2019, Freedom House rated the country as 'partly free'. Regarding workers' rights, it declared that unions "are generally able to operate without obstruction" but warned that new laws were on the way which "would limit their ability to organize and would force them to affiliate with the Federation of Trade Unions of Kyrgyzstan (FTUK), which would serve as the country's only national union."

Since that report was published, things have gotten much worse for the workers of Kyrgyzstan.

Over the past two years, the trade unions of Kyrgyzstan have been fighting against the adoption of new trade union law. The bill significantly restricts the scope of trade union activities, dictates the internal structure of trade unions and places trade unions under the control of state bodies.

The trade unions of Kyrgyzstan held protest actions against the adoption of the bill.

In response, the authorities, on trumped-up charges, opened criminal cases against the leaders of the protesting trade unions and removed them from their posts. Trade union leaders and activists become targets of arrests, constant interrogations, provocations, and pressure. Union offices and union leaders' homes were ransacked, and union bank accounts seized.

This week, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the International Union of Food Workers (IUF), IndustriALL global union and Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) have launched an online campaign on LabourStart supporting the unions of Kyrgyzstan and sending a message of protest to the President, Government and Parliament of the republic.

Please support the campaign.

And please share this message with your friends, family and fellow trade union members.