According to reports from SER, the Risaralda teacher trade union, environmental campaigner and teacher Jorge Eliecer de los Rios was assassinated by gunmen on Wednesday 8th June. He was shot several times from a motorbike as he was going from one building to another of the Santa Sofia School, in Dosquebradas, in the city of Pereira, Risaralda where he taught social sciences.
De los Rios, as well as being a union member, was a leading member of the Meedrua NGO and had led a campaign to expose the damage being done by an open air mine belonging to multinationals. He had carried out research into open air mining across the country, but particularly in the local areas of Quinchia, Mistrato and Pueblo Rico, all rich in gold resources and where the Canadian multinational company ‘Quedada’ operates.
According to Diego Maria Osorio, the SER legal officer and coordinator of its human rights commission, De los Rios “had denounced last week in statements made to the radio the effects of open air mining.” De los Rios was also in charge of the Environmental Education Project at the Santa Sofia School.
Osorio said of his murdered colleague, “He was a very much loved person in the teaching community.”
This latest assassination brings the number of trade unionists murdered so far this year to 12, with teachers being the most targeted.