About the network

15 unions worldwide have now signed an international agreement on defending education and employment standards in the context of global marketisation. Together, these unions represent more than half a million tertiary education workers around the world.

The deepening global recession and the cutting back of public provision will only give greater encouragement to a burgeoning private sector, making the international agreement only more relevant and important.

We are now turning this community of over 500,000 academics into something tangible.

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Take action to help protect Dr Beltran’s life

Dr Miguel Beltran is appealing against a decision by the National University of Bogota to refuse him an extension to his studies abroad and require him to return to Colombia.

If he does this, Dr Beltran’s life will be in danger. On his release from prison, Beltran has continued to face death threats, false accusations, and an unfounded disciplinary case by the Colombian Inspector General (Procuraduria), in addition to learning of plans for his assassination in Colombia. Beltran’s request for protection by the Colombian authorities was denied, and he was
forced to leave the country.

Now he faces the prospect of having to return to Colombia and live with the perpectual fear of assassination, or to remain abroad and lose his job.

Please help us to protect our colleague. Thousands of academics and education trade unions protested across the world to secure the release of Dr Beltran from prison.

The UCU and the CAUT have already written in protest at the University’s decision. You can read the CAUT’s statement here and the UCU’s latest letter can be read here.

We are asking education unions to send a letter petitioning the Council of the National University in Bogota to uphold Dr Beltran’s appeal. Please feel free to use the model text below.

Model letter text:


Doctor Ignacio Mantilla. Rector Universidad Nacional de Colombia rectoriaun@unal.edu.co<mailto:rectoriaun@unal.edu.co
fax: 3165000

Profesor Sergio Bolaños Cuéllar. Decano Facultad Ciencias Humanas. Universidad Nacional de Colombia. dec_fchbog@unal.edu.co<mailto:dec_fchbog@unal.edu.co

On behalf of xxxx  union , we  urge you to accept Dr Miguel Beltran’s appeal for an extension of his sabbatical leave.

Dr Beltran has faced persecution by the Colombian state and endured more than two years in prison. On his release from prison he has continued to face death threats, false accusations, and an unfounded disciplinary case by the Colombian Inspector General (Procuraduria), in addition to learning of plans for his assassination in Colombia. Beltran’s request for protection by the Colombian authorities was denied, and he was forced to leave the country.

We understand that the National University has now denied Dr. Beltran’s request to extend his post doctorate research outside Colombia, and that he is expected to return to Bogota to continue his work, a situation which puts his life in grave danger.

Our union has actively campaigned within the international academic community on behalf of Dr Beltran. Academics and teachers across the world have spoken out in support of Dr Beltran and they continue to follow his case with interest and concern.

The National University has a responsibility to act to defend both academic freedom and the safety and security of its staff and the international academic community will be watching its actions.

I urge you to ensure that Dr Beltran is able to conduct his academic work in safety. I urge you to grant Dr Beltran’s appeal.

Yours sincerely,



Profesor Pedro Hernández. Presidente Nacional Asociación, Sindical de Profesores Universitarios. pjhernandezc@gmail.com<mailto:pjhernandezc@gmail.com
Profesor Mario Hernández. Representante Profesoral al Consejo Superior Universitario mariohernandez62@gmail.com<mailto:mariohernandez62@gmail.com
Profesora Claudia Patricia Sierra. Representante Profesoral Facultad Ciencias Humanas cpsierrap@unal.edu.co<mailto:cpsierrap@unal.edu.co
Profesora Flor Alba Romero. Comisión de Convivencia. Universidad Nacional faromerome@unal.edu.co<mailto:faromerome@unal.edu.co>

Spanish version:

Petición de apoyo al Dr. Miguel Ángel Beltrán

De parte de la  xxxxxxx  quiero instarles a que acepten la apelación del Dr. Miguel Beltrán para prorrogar su comisión de estudios.

El Dr. Beltrán ha enfrentado persecución de parte del estado colombiano y ha padecido más de dos años en la cárcel. Al ser liberado ha seguido enfrentando amenazas de muerte, acusaciones falsas y un caso disciplinario sin fundamento de parte de la Procuraduría colombiana, además de recibir noticias sobre planes por su asesinato en Colombia. La solicitud del Dr. Beltrán de medidas de protección de las autoridades colombianas fue negado, y   obligado a salir del país.

Entiendo que la Universidad Nacional ha rechazado la solicitud del Dr. Beltrán para prorrogar sus estudios posdoctorales afuera de Colombia, y se espera que vuelva a Bogotá para seguir con su trabajo, una situación que pone en grave peligro su vida.

Nuestro sindicato ha alertado activamente dentro de la comunidad internacional la persecución que ha sido víctima el Dr. Beltrán. Mas de 4,000 académicos internacionales, incluyendo premios nobeles de la comunidad científica,  se han pronunciado en apoyo del Dr. Beltrán y siguen  su caso con interés y preocupación.

La Universidad Nacional tiene la responsabilidad de actuar para defender la libertad académica y la seguridad de su personal, y la comunidad académica internacional estará observando sus acciones.

Le insto a que que el Dr. Beltrán pueda realizar su trabajo académico de una manera que garantice su seguridad y en tal sentido se acepte su recurso de reposición.



Beltran at UCU’s Congress 2012:

You can read all about Miguel’s emotional visit to the UK and to UCU’s annual Congress in Manchester earlier this year, as well as watching a message from him and reading his speech here.


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