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  • Teachers protest at the Bolivar Square, Bogota, Colombia, Sep. 9, 2019.

    Teachers protest at the Bolivar Square, Bogota, Colombia, Sep. 9, 2019. | Photo: Twitter/ @AdidaSindicato

Published 10 September 2019

Ten teachers have been killed and almost 700 have been threatened with death since Ivan Duque took office.

The Colombian Federation of Education Workers (Fecode) called a 24-hour nationwide strike on September 12 to protest against the "serious situation of insecurity" that this South American country is experiencing.

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"The protest aims at defending life and physical integrity of teachers, union and social leaders and rejecting all forms of violence in this country wherever they come from."

Previously, on Sep. 3, Fecode denounced that its leaders had been threatened by the Black Eagles (Aguilas Negras), a paramilitary organization which maintains links with the Colombian far-right and drug trafficking groups.

As a result of these threats, teachers suspended their "caravan in defense of life", a peaceful rally which was scheduled to take place in Cauca, one of the departments most affected by violence.

On Thursday, teachers will ask President Ivan Duque to fully comply with all the agreements signed at the negotiations table, one of which is “the recognition of educational institutions as territories of peace”.

Fecode also demands that the Colombian government support the 2016 peace agreement and respect the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, the institution responsible for judging crimes committed during the armed conflict.

"226 social leaders killed so far in 2019. Leon Humberto Alcaraz Godoy and Wilder Elias Godoy Restrepo, sadly became victims 225 and 226 respectively. Colombia Social Leaders Killed."

Besides expressing its solidarity with Colombian educators, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) asked President Duque to guarantee the peace process.

"We urge the Government to change course and ensure that the path to peace and shared prosperity is fully fulfilled," the ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said.

"President Duque administration is breaching its obligation to ensure full implementation of the peace agreement and, as a result, the country risks falling back on the black days of the armed conflict."

The upcoming strike will be performed with mobilizations in all the country's municipalities. The highest concentration of protesters are expected to demonstrate in Bogota, Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Cali and Medellin.

Since Duque assumed the presidency, ten teachers have been killed and almost 700 have been threatened with death by paramilitary groups. 

From 2016 to Sep. 7, 2019, at least 848 social leaders have been killed in collombia, according to "Deciphering the War" portal. 

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