Education International
Education International

Colombia: Two teacher unionists murdered in 5 days

published 13 November 2007 updated 13 November 2007

EI deplores the murder of two teacher trade unionists within the past week

Mercedes Consuelo Restrepo Campo was shot dead outside the 'San Juan Bosco' school in the town of Cartago by two armed men on a motorcycle on 7th November the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores de Colombia – CUT - reports.

Restrepo, who had been a teacher for 30 years, served on the executive board of SUTEV, a regional affiliate of EI member FECODE, in the department of Valle de Cauca.

Her murder follows that of Leonidas Silva Castro on 2nd November. He was murdered in his home in the Barrio Prados del Norte neighbourhood in the town of Villacaro. Castro had arrived home after attending a trade union event. He was an active member of ASINORT – another FECODE affiliate.

Colombia remains the most dangerous country in the world to be a trade unionist. The EI Barometer found that violence against trade unionists is endemic. Union leaders are targets of attacks by armed groups for political reasons. Teachers, who make up almost one-third of the organised work force, especially so.

EI condemns these assassinations and calls on the government of Colombia to bring those responsible to justice.