Colombia: Murders of Teachers Continue into 2011

The International Trade Union Confederation has reiterated its support for its affiliated organisations in Colombia and has strongly condemned the murder, on 10 January, of Manuel Esteban Tejada, a teacher at the "Palma Soriana" education centre, affiliated to the teachers’ association of Córdoba, ADEMACOR.

According to the latest figures received by the ITUC, 25 out of the 46 trade unionists assassinated in 2010 were teachers. The ITUC has joined with CUT, the Colombian trade union centre, and ADEMACOR in demanding that the relevant ministries and authorities – departmental, municipal and national – ensure the launch of an immediate and exhaustive investigation into this crime, to identify those responsible at every level.

"It is inadmissible that the majority of the crimes and offences in Colombia go unpunished," said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow, "Impunity is a scourge that we all have a duty to fight."

In a letter to President Santos, the ITUC called on the Colombian authorities, and particularly the vice president of the Republic, who publicly pledged to support the defence of human rights, to take every action necessary, without delay, to ensure that the investigation is conclusive and that those responsible are punished with the full force of the law, thus breaking the circle of impunity in Colombia.