Industri Energi takes part in international trade union mission to Kazakhstan

Thursday 8. November 2018

The Arthur Svensson foundation and Industri Energi will take part in an international mission next week.

Earlier this year the independent trade union movement of Kazakhstan was awarded with the Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rights.

Andreas
Andreas Hasle, The head of the Svensson foundation.

The justification for the award was the severe government repression of union rights and the persecution of union leaders such as Larissa Kharkova. The confederation of independent labour unions (KNPRK) has also been banned by a court ruling.

The head of the Svensson foundation, Andreas C. Halse, is worried about the current development regarding trade union rights in the republic of Kazakhstan.

– We were glad to see that several union leaders was released from prison during the spring of 2018. However new court procedures have been initiated against Larissa Kharkova and Erlan Baltabai, leader of the independent energy workers union. We are deeply concerned about the limitations in the freedom to organize, the crackdown on independent unions and the failure of the government to comply with ILO conventions, says Halse.

Lack of freedom

The Svensson foundation, represented by Halse, and the Norwegian trade union Industri Energi, represented by head of secretariat, Espen Løken, are taking part in a delegation that also includes Anton Leppik from ITUC-PERC, Ivan Milykh from the international food workers union (IUF) and Boris Kravchenko from the Russian union confederation KTR.

The delegation will be in Kazakhstan from November 13 until November 15. The delegation will meet with various human rights defenders in the country, but also reach out to the government.

Human rights situation

Andreas C. Halse says that they have invited the government to talks about the union situation, but have received no interest in dialogue from the authorities of Kazakhstan. He concludes that:

– We want to get a thorough impression of the human rights situation in the country and are eager to listen to all perspectives. We hope to be welcomed be the authorities of the Republic of Kazakhstan and will keep our arms open if they decide to meet with us.

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