NEU condemns persecution of FECODE teacher trade unionist Martha Alfonso

The National Education Union (NEU) has contacted Colombia’s presidential office to express its support for Martha Alfonso, International Secretary of the Federation of Colombian Educators (FECODE), after she was subjected to threatening activity in Bogota.

The NEU and FECODE have built a strong relationship through their work with Justice for Colombia, with members of both organisations meeting on several occasions in Britain and Colombia. Most recently, Martha was an official guest at the NEU’s 2024 national conference, held in Bournemouth over 3-6 April. While there, Martha spoke at a JFC fringe event and met with several NEU officials and members, including General Secretary Daniel Kebede, President Emma Rosa, the international committee and department, regional secretaries and several lay members.

Little over a month after attending NEU, on 11 May, Martha’s vehicle was pursued in Bogota by two unidentified people on a motorbike. Soon afterwards, the same two people were seen outside her home. Alongside other FECODE executive members, Martha has previously received threats relating to her trade union and human rights activity.

In the letter, Daniel Kebede expresses support for the government’s attempts to build peace through dialogue and pass progressive social reforms. Through JFC, the NEU has campaigned extensively in support of trade union rights, human rights and peace in Colombia, which the union identifies as a priority country in its campaign work

Read the full letter below.