NEU writes to Colombian president over latest threats to trade unionists

Britain’s National Education Union (NEU), the largest education trade union in Europe, has written to Colombian president Iván Duque to condemn the recent death threats against trade unionists in Colombia.

On Monday 26 October, threats were sent to Diogenes Orjuela, president of Colombia’s largest trade union confederation, the CUT, and Executive Committee members of the FECODE teachers union. Those targeted have received previous threats over their trade union activity and human rights activism.

In the letter, signed by NEU joint-general secretaries Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, the union emphasised the shocking figures of anti-trade union violence in Colombia. ‘The NEU holds your government responsible for ensuring the safety and the physical integrity of all individuals on the FECODE Executive Committee, as well as of every citizen who exercises his/her right to express opinions, to demonstrate and to organise to defend the public education system,’ said the letter.

Education unions in Britain and Ireland are longstanding supporters of their Colombian counterparts, as teachers continue to be targeted. According to FECODE, since the start of 2018, at least 25 teachers have been murdered in Colombia. Ongoing violence has coincided with a series of national strikes coordinated by FECODE, the CUT and other trade unions and social organisations.

You can download or read the full letter via the link below.