Neo-paramilitary groups are causing Colombian students to be displaced on a ‘massive’ scale, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), reported Colombian news provider Noticiero del Llano Wednesday.
According to UNHCR spokeswoman Adriana Buchelly, recruitment in schools by violent groups is causing massive displacement as children and teachers are forced to find new institutions due to threats or, in some cases, murder.
The pattern is especially pronounced in Medellin, where 14 students were assassinated in the first half of 2011.
Buchelly said, “In only six educational institutions, 965 left after being threatened or after a classmate was killed.”
According to Buchelly, between 2010 and November 2011 approximately 40,000 people were displaced in the municipalities where the Interior Ministry implemented protection programs.
Between 2008 and 2011 it is estimated 250,000 students and teachers have been displaced.