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AKIPRESS.COM - An economic court in Kazakhstan on January 4, 2017, ordered the permanent closure of an independent trade union body, the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Kazakhstan, Human Rights Watch said.
"The ruling is an egregious violation of the freedom of association and should be quashed," the rights organization stated.
“By shutting down this trade union organization the authorities have taken a worrying step backwards” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Kazakhstan has made an international commitment to protect freedom of association, but this decision does the opposite”
An economic court in Shymkent, in southern Kazakhstan, held a hearing on January 4 to review a case filed by the Justice Ministry on December 5, 2016, against the confederation. The court did not allow the confederation to present its case and ruled the same day. Three other affiliated industrial unions, representing medical workers, domestic workers and mine workers, are at risk of liquidation in a related legal action by the ministry.
The Justice Ministry accused the confederation of failing to confirm its status as a national union within six months of its registration in accordance with a 2014 restrictive trade union law. The law imposes burdensome registration requirements on trade unions that do not respect internationally protected workers’ rights to organize.