BWI called for the immediate release of Kyrgyzstan trade union leader Kanatbek Osmonov, who was charged with criminal cases and placed under house arrest by the government. Osmonov is the Deputy Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Kyrgyzstan (FTUKg) and President of the Kyrgyzstan Forestry Workers Union.
On 10 June, Osmonov was placed under house arrest for two months. The house arrest was downgraded to “night house arrest” on 30 June. Unionists believed that Osmonov’s arrest is part of an elaborate attempt to neutralise trade unions in Kyrgzstan. BWI has received reports that the government is interfering with FTUKg’s internal decision-making processes, which allegedly undermined council meetings and led to the initiation of criminal prosecutions against council members.
On 23 June, BWI sent a letter to Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbay Jeenbekov calling for the immediate release of Osmonov. It also expressed its deep concern regarding the deterioration of trade union rights in the country and opposition to the persecution of trade union leaders. “We urge President Jeenbekov to immediately release Kanatbeck Osmonov from his house arrest and ensure the conduct of a proper and fair investigation on the legitimacy of the criminal cases lodged against him,” BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson said.
“We also urge President Jeenbekov to put an end to all forms of government interference to the internal affairs of trade unions. We call our affiliates to join us and send protest letters to Kyrgyz government authorities,” Yuson added.
Eldiiar Karachalov, President of the Building Workers Union of Kyrgyzstan, said that the President should act as the guarantor of the workers’ constitutional rights and stop all forms of persecution against trade union leaders and activists in the country. He said that global trade union solidarity will greatly contribute in pushing the government to respect trade union rights and free Osmonov.