Justice for Colombia
Justice for Colombia is a trade union backed campaign which seeks to provide support to victims of repression in that country.
The EIS is affiliated to J.F.C. and we would urge members to consider the message below, which we received through the British and Irish Trade Union Group (BIGTU), which includes all the main teaching unions:
We are contacting you to ask if you will consider signing the petition to free Omar Combita, a Colombian teacher trade unionist, imprisoned since 2nd October 2011 in Caqueta High Security Prison, without being convicted of any crime.
Mr. Combita is an active member of FECODE, the Colombian teachers’ trade union and the director of the Santana Ramos Education Centre and is accused of "rebellion”.
Mr. Combita has been denied due process, and the case against him is based on dubious evidence, including a police intelligence report that has been changed during the legal process.
He is one of nine trade unionists, human rights defenders and social leaders to be detained in this case, many of them of them active in protests against government reforms to education and in highlighting state human rights abuses.
Colombia is the most dangerous country in the world to be a trade unionist, with over 3,000 assassinated in the last 20 years, 69 during the first two years of the current government and hundreds more imprisoned, threatened and forced to flee their homes; it appears Mr. Combita is being targeted as a result of his trade union activity.
Mr. Combita has also been diagnosed with the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, and has been denied treatment for the condition throughout his incarceration, making his release even more urgent.
The EIS is supporting a public petition by British and Irish teachers to Colombian President Santos, calling for Mr. Combita’s release, coordinated by British NGO Justice for Colombia.
Support from individual teachers is also vital.
Please add your name to the petition to help free Omar here - http://www.justiceforcolombia.org/campaigns/omar-combita/