ILO cuts ties with Russia ‘until a ceasefire is agreed’

The International Labour Organization (ILO) on Wednesday said it is cutting all technical ties with Russia “until a ceasefire is agreed”, joining a growing list of organisations and companies ramping up pressure on Moscow to withdraw from Ukraine.

At a meeting of its governing body, the UN agency passed a resolution “to temporarily suspend technical cooperation or assistance” to Russia, except in the case of  humanitarian assistance.

Forty-two of the governing council representatives voted in favour of the resolution, two voted against (the governments of Russia and China), while eight including Pakistan and India abstained.

The ILO’s executive body is made up of governments (28), employees (14), and employer representatives (14) from its 187 member states, and makes decisions on ILO policy and its agenda.

The votes in favour came from 16 governments, 12 employee and 14 employer representatives.

It has also moved to suspend invitations to Russia to attend expert meetings and seminars, and will also look into whether to move its country office for eastern Europe and central Asia, outside of the country. The Moscow ILO office, where around 50 staff work, is the largest UN office in Russia.

“The continuing aggression by the Russian federation, aided by the Belarusian Government, against Ukraine is grossly incompatible with the aims and purposes of the organisation and principles governing ILO membership,” the resolution said.

It called on Russia “to immediately and unconditionally cease its aggression” and withdraw its troops from Ukraine as well as urging safe passage for civilians and humanitarian access for those in need.

The latest diplomatic stand-off follows moves by member states at other UN agencies and organisations based in Geneva to isolate Moscow, over its invasion of Ukraine. Last week, G7 nations said a coalition of World Trade Organization members were revoking Russia’s “most favoured nation” status, opening the country up to new tariffs on goods.

According to sources cited by Reuters, certain countries are also refusing to engage with Russia at the WTO, impacting key negotiations and casting doubt over agreements being reached at June’s ministerial conference.

Russia’s actions have also received widespread condemnation at the Human Rights Council and the Conference of Disarmament over the last month, with dozens of members staging a walk-out during Russia’s statements.

Cern, the vast research organisation based in Geneva, has also suspended Russia’s observer member status.