EI wrote to the President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, on 14 Sep to condemn the assassination of another three teachers in August this year. That makes a total of 22 teachers murdered in the country since the beginning of 2006.
The murder of Agudelo Valencia, Fabio Martínez Roa and Germán E. Solano Andrade were communicated to EI by its affiliate, the Federación Colombiana de Educadores (FECODE). According to FECODE, two of them had actually informed the authorities about the death threats they were receiving.
In its letter EI deplores the fact that no culprit has been identified for any of the twenty-two murders. The Colombian authorities have to conduct the necessary investigations and bring the culprits to justice, says EI.
EI is working with its affiliate FECODE to promote trade union activities in Colombia. Recently in August, the EI Latin America Regional Office organised a seminar on the fundamental rights at work for FECODE members.
On 26 September, EI will be joining the International Day of Action on Colombia organised by the international trade union movement. The day is chosen to demand the full implementation of the "Tripartite Agreement on Freedom of Association and Democracy" signed by the three Colombian trade union centres (CUT-CGT-CTC) with the Colombian government and employers' delegations. EI encourages all its affiliates around the world to show their solidarity with Colombian colleagues. For more details about the international day of action, please contact your national trade union centre or visit the website of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU): http://www.icftu.org/.
Please find below the content of EI's letter to President Uribe on 14 September:
14 September 2006
To: His Excellency the President of Colombia Dr Alvaro Uribe
Education International, the global union federation representing 30 million teachers and other education workers through 348 member organisations in 166 countries and territories, has been informed by its affiliate in Colombia, the Federación Colombiana de Educadores (FECODE), that three teachers – namely Ms Berta Inés Agudelo Valencia, Mr Fabio Martínez Roa and Mr Germán E. Solano Andrade – were murdered in the months of August and September.
Berta Agudelo Valencia worked at the “Inmaculada Concepción” educational establishment in the municipality of Nariño, Department of Antioquia, where she was Secretary for Women’s and Family Issues of the Municipal Sub-Directorate of ADIDA. She was murdered on 19 August.
Mr Martínez Roa worked at the “Las Brisas” educational establishment in the municipality of Lourdes (North Santander) and was murdered on 17 August in that locality in spite of the fact that he had repeatedly reported to the municipal authorities that he was receiving threats.
Mr Solano Andrade worked at the “Divino Niño” educational establishment in the municipality of Arauca and was murdered on 5 September in the city of Arauca. Some years ago he had been forced to leave the region as a result of death threats and other forms of intimidation.
We wish to state that Education International deeply deplores the fact that 22 teachers have been murdered so far this year without a single culprit being identified or arrested.
In view of the above, we kindly request you to take all necessary steps to conduct proper investigations into these murders so as to ensure that their perpetrators do not enjoy impunity but are identified and brought to justice as required by law.
Trusting that you will give this matter your most serious consideration and urgent attention,
Combertty Rodríguez García Chief Regional Coordinator of Education International for Latin America