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Translated from the Russian

by the Executive Committee
of the General Confederation of Trade Unions

In connection with the forthcoming 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster the Executive Committee of the General Confederation of Trade Unions, GCTU, appeals to the state authorities of the member-countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, world trade unions, and international nongovernmental organisations.

Despite the large-scale measures taken by the CIS countries over the period and the humanitarian relief rendered by the world community, people are still suffering from the effects of the tragedy.

Many medical, socio-economic and environmental problems caused by the disaster have acquired a long-term character.

Until now, the problem of providing citizens resettled from contaminated areas with a proper living environment has not been fully solved. The rates of constructing and commissioning new dwellings, and public health, social and recreational facilities keep falling down. Thousands of people are compelled to live in what is otherwise liable to be population-free zones.

We are particularly alarmed with the health conditions of both the inhabitants of the affected territories and the liquidators, the growing numbers of children suffering from cancer diseases, and the rise in remote medical effects threatening not only the victims, but also the subsequent generations.

Trade unions in the Commonwealth are deeply concerned with the recent tendencies towards curtailing the social protection of Chernobyl victims, and with the plans to revise current legislation, change the criteria for assessment of contaminated areas, and strip their population of the social guarantees. The unions will further defend the victims’ vital interests and seek to ensure adequate living and working conditions for them.

The GCTU Executive Committee regards the problems of social protection of Chernobyl victims as remaining a top priority even today. Constant care of those people must be ranked as a state policy that should make them enjoy being full-fledged members of society.

The GCTU Executive Committee calls on the governments of the CIS countries to focus increased attention on the social protection of Chernobyl victims, refrain from attempts to dismantle or reduce the social guarantees provided for by current legislation, ensure unconditional implementation of the respective state programmes, statutory acts and the interstate agreement of 9 September 1994 on the above issues, and promote the activity of Chernobyl public organisations.

Considering the complicated and long-term nature of the efforts to be taken to minimise the after-effects of the Chernobyl disaster, the Executive Committee of the General Confederation of Trade Unions calls on:

- trade union bodies in the CIS countries to keep paying attention to the social protection of Chernobyl disaster victims and giving them practical assistance at all levels of management and economic activity, and show continual concern for the living and working conditions and needs of trade unionists who participated in the emergency clean-up after the accident at the Chernobyl Atomic Power Station;

- world trade unions and nongovernmental and public organisations to continue humanitarian relief to the victims of radiation, with the emphasis primarily on the neediest categories of population living in contaminated areas, children suffering from the after-effects of the disaster, and liquidators.

Moscow, 15 April 2006