Delegation of the European Union to the State of Kuwait and the State of Qatar

ILC 109 - Committee on Application of Standards - Kazakhstan

Geneva, 12/06/2021 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 210624_20
Statements on behalf of the EU

Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87)

Thank you, Chair.

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia*[1], Montenegro* and Albania*, the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this statement.

The EU and its Member States are committed to the promotion, protection, respect and fulfilment of human rights, including labour rights and the right to organise and the freedom of association.

We actively promote the universal ratification and implementation of fundamental international labour standards, including Convention 87 on freedom of association. We support the ILO in its indispensable role to develop, promote and supervise the application of international labour standards and of fundamental Conventions in particular.

The EU-Kazakhstan relationship is governed by the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which has enabled us to strengthen our bilateral cooperation. This Agreement includes commitments to effectively implement the fundamental ILO Conventions.

While we acknowledge the progress made by the Government in amending parts of its legislation, we are concerned that Kazakhstan has become a recurrent case at the CAS. Conformity with Convention 87, both in law and in practice, is now discussed for the fourth time in the last five years. We encourage the government to address the outstanding issues to fully comply with Convention 87.

Following the ILO high-level tripartite mission of May 2018 and the resulting roadmap, the EU and its Member States note with satisfaction the amendments, in May 2020, of several legislative acts, including the Law on Trade Unions, the Law on the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs and the Labour Code.

We urge the Government to repeal Article 402 of the Criminal Code which criminalizes “calling on workers to participate in a strike that has been found illegal by a court”. This article is incompatible with the freedom of association, the right to organize its activities, including the right to strike, without interference of public authorities.

Beyond legislative amendments, we call on the Government to ensure that the freedom of association as well as the right to establish organisations without prior authorisation and the right to organize, both in law and in practice, are respected.

We note the information submitted by the Government regarding the denials to register for the Congress of Free Trade Unions (KSPRK) and the Industrial Union of Employees of the Fuel and Energy Sector, as requested by the Committee. We regret that both trade unions remain unregistered. We also regret the suspension of the operations of the Industrial Union of Employees of the Fuel and Energy Sector. We stress the importance of ensuring that independent trade unions are able to register and carry out their activity without interference and strongly encourage the Government to continue engaging with the social partners in addressing the issues concerning the registration and suspension processes.

We note that the Committee on Freedom of Association continues examining the cases of Mr Baltabay and Ms Kharkova and take note of the submission by the Government of written information on their cases, as well as on the case of Mr Senyavsky. The EU and its Member States deplore any violation of fundamental rights of and any act of harassment, intimidation, assault or imprisonment against trade unionists.

 The EU and its Member States will continue to follow and analyze the situation and remain committed to our close cooperation and partnership with Kazakhstan.

Thank you Chair.


[1] *The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.


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