Senen Niño Avendaño, President of the Federación Colombiana de Educadores (FECODE) and a member of the EI Executive Board, together with two other leaders of the Colombian teachers’ union, has been refused an entry visa to Switzerland where they were to participate in the Conference of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) taking place in Geneva from 30 May-15 June.
The three FECODE members were part of the EI delegation at the ILO Conference and were to attend the sessions of the Committee on Application of Standards that will notably review the application of ILO Convention 87 on freedom of association by the Government of Colombia next week. Senen was to address the Committee about the serious violations faced by Colombian teacher unionists for many years.
EI regretEI deeply regrets the decision of the Swiss authorities that will seriously impede the legitimate activities of a trade union leader. EI is investigating the reason why the visas were refused.
In June each year, EI actively participates in the annual ILO Conference. As part of the Workers’ Group of the Committee on Application of Standards, EI contributes, with the help of its member organisations, to highlight the situation of teachers in the 25 countries that are reviewed every year by the Committee. This year, the delegation will also follow the discussion on youth employment and the recurring discussion on social protection.
The absence of the FECODE delegation at the Conference would be a big loss for the defence of Colombian teachers’ rights.