November 2020 – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) in Canada represents more than 50,000 workers in air transportation, aerospace, manufacturing, healthcare and many other sectors.
The IAM joins the Canadian Labour Congress and many other Canadian unions in expressing grave concerns about the brutal violence and repression we are witnessing against the people of Belarus.
There have been more than two months of peaceful protests against a fraudulent election, and the response by Belarus is horrific: we have seen illegal detentions, the arrest of thousands of citizens and a clamp-down on reporters who seek to illuminate these travesties. Opposition leaders have been pushed into exile or arrested.
Human rights organizations report torture and abuse of detained protesters. The UN Human Rights Council has condemned Belarus for “Criminalizing Human rights work”, and particularly the targeting of women who do that work. As of today, at least 6 people have been confirmed dead with dozens still missing, almost 20,000 detained – including children, and over 500 documented cases of torture.
The Canadian government has already stated that it does not recognize the presidency of Alexander Lukashenko, and has imposed sanctions against Belarus.
The IAM is deeply concerned about the arrest of trade union leaders who have taken part in peaceful protests. Workers who are protesting this regime by walking out of plants and factories risk their lives and their safety. The people of Belarus have the right to free and fair elections, fundamental freedoms to demand their rights and a well-functioning rule of law.
The IAM in Canada joins the international union movement’s call to denounce the violent attacks by the police and special security forces against the people of Belarus. We demand authorities immediately stop all violence, illegal detentions and persecution. We further demand all imprisoned union leaders and activists are released.
The people of Belarus must have the right to choose their government by holding free elections with an independent election commission and international observers.
We want workers in Belarus and the people of Belarus to know that the IAM in Canada supports them!
CONTACT: Frank Saptel, Communications Representative