Statement: Response to teacher abducted in front of class in Catatumbo, Colombia
BOGOTA, 16 June 2022: On Tuesday 14 June, a teacher was reportedly kidnapped by armed men in front of her students in Catatumbo, Norte de Santander, Colombia. Reports indicate that two armed men arrived at the school, entered the classroom and in the middle of class in front of the children forced the teacher to leave and get on a motorcycle. She has not been heard of since.
María Paula Martínez, Save the Children’s Country Director in Colombia, said:
“We condemn this latest act of violence against children and their caregivers in Colombia. All children have the right to access a safe education. No teacher or school should ever be deliberately targeted, and no child should fear physical harm to themselves, their peers, or their teachers at or on the way to school.
“In the long term, attacks like this weaken the country’s education systems, adversely affecting Colombia’s economic, political, and social development. Perhaps most importantly for a child, access to a safe space to learn can provide a sense of normality, routine, and calm – feelings which are totally undermined when schools are attacked.
“Save the Children urges all parties to this conflict to maintain safe access to education at all times. We also call on the Government of Colombia to must adopted de Safe Schools Declaration and have more effective strategies to keep safe all children especially in rural areas.
Save the Children has worked in Colombia for 30 years, running education and protection programs in the most vulnerable places and affected by the armed conflict such as Cauca, La Guajira, Norte de Santander, Arauca, Valle, del Cauca, Nariño and Bogotá.
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