Open address by Belavia – Belarusian Airlines employees
We, representatives of the workplace community of Belavia – Belarusian Airlines — the largest national airline of the Republic of Belarus — appeal to the international community with this open letter to draw attention to the devastating consequences for hundreds of thousands of people around the globe resulting from the unilateral coercive measures applied to our airline by the European Union countries and Ukraine.
The EU countries and Ukraine have unilaterally introduced a ban for the Belavia aircrafts to fly over their territories and to enter their airports.
The prohibiting measures introduced without any legal grounds are discriminatory in their nature, they contradict the international law, including the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. These measures have been adopted in violation of the international human rights law, and they contradict the human rights principles declared by the European Union as the measures violate a number of human rights of the Belavia workplace community and its multiple clients around the world. These bans have affected the rights of hundreds of thousands of citizens in various regions of the world depriving them of the freedom of choosing the services of their preferred airline, as well as their right to freedom of movement.
Thousands of innocent people have been held hostage by the imposed discriminatory bans and thousands of people have become vulnerable since they may not get the airline's services for safe travel including flying back home. In some cases, some EU countries would close their airspace to civilian aircrafts already in flight, thus endangering lives and safety of passengers on board.
Even in the uneasy situation, Belavia has been taking all possible measures to ensure safe return of its clients who have become hostages of unforeseen circumstances.
Today the airline is deprived of operating 2/3 of its regular flights. The imposed restrictions have extremely negatively affected the well-being of ca. 2,000 airline staff and over 5,000 family members.
As a business entity, the Belavia airline has successfully developed in recent years without any government funding and managed to withstand numerous challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic that all airlines have faced in the world. Moreover, our airline was among those who entirely fulfilled their duty to people of different nationalities evacuating them to their home countries when regular flights were disrupted due to COVID-19.
It is regrettable that among the countries that have approved bans against our airline, there are those whom we have wholeheartedly helped evacuate their citizens.
The Belavia airline has never been engaged in political activities or internationally criticized for not ensuring the rights of its employees. On the contrary, the company's success enabled the team to look confidently into the future and make life plans. Today all these plans and destinies of thousands of employees can be destroyed by unreasonable political decisions taken by the EU member-states.
The objectives of the airline are to ensure a high level of flight safety, a high quality of service for passengers, to expand its flight geography, and to increase the volume of its transportations. Belavia is a full member of IATA and ERA (European Regions Airline Association); Belavia regularly passes certification audits on compliance with the IOSA operational safety standards; and Belavia ranks high among the European airlines in terms of ensuring flight safety under the SAFA program.
In this regard, we call attention to the groundless interpretation of the reasons for the restrictive measures adopted by the EU countries, namely “threat to aviation security”. The ban to set the codes of Belarusian carriers to the flights of other airlines flying to the EU countries and the airlines flying over the territory of such countries is totally inconsistent with the reasons indicated for the ban.
Moreover, one cannot but mention that the bans were adopted and put into effect before the formal ICAO investigation of the Ryanair case started; although, it is already obvious to the international aviation community that Belavia and its employees were not in any way involved or engaged in the event.
For all the years of its history, Belavia has been strictly observing the norms of the international air law.
We call on foreign functionaries to abandon the sanctions policy and discriminatory decisions in relation to workplace communities.
On our own behalf and on behalf of our numerous clients, the Belavia community appeals to the international community, to international organizations, to the United Nations and its human rights mechanisms in particular, including the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as to the International Labor Organization, workplace communities and trade unions calling them to help lifting the illegal restrictive measures imposed against us, against you — our clients — and against our airline.
We call on all those concerned to stand in solidarity with our workplace community also by forwarding the echoing written appeals to the EU Council HQ and to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to lift the bans against Belavia – Belarusian Airlines.
The workplace community of Belavia – Belarusian Airlines