Image provided by Colombia's Ministry of Defense shows a social worker interacting with children at the Municipal College of Cucuta where Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas delivered humanitarian aid to the people deported from Venezuela, in Cucuta, Colombia, on Aug. 27, 2015. (Xinhua/Mauricio Orjuela/MINDEFENSA)
BOGOTA, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- As many as 299 children have been separated from their parents because of deportations of Colombians from Venezuela, a Colombian official said here Tuesday.
The temporary shelters established to cope with the humanitarian crisis have registered 890 children living there, 232 of which are under five years old, Cristina Plazas, director of the Colombian Family Welfare Institute, told the Caracol radio.
"The key point now is that the (separated) children are all moved soon to specialized pediatric development centers in Colombia," she said.
She said that Caracas has so far ignored calls from the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to reunite 154 families that have been separated due to the deportations and the closing of the border.
Aside from those deported by Venezuela, the International Committee of the Red Cross in Colombia reported that another 4,260 people have voluntarily returned to Colombia because of the outbreak of a humanitarian crisis in the area.
Residents wait to cross the international bridge near the Main Customs Border between Colombia and Venezuela, in the city of San Antonio de Tachira, capital of the Bolivar municipality, in the Tachira State, Venezuela, on Aug. 30, 2015. (Xinhua/Str)
Venezuela said the deportation of over 1,000 undocumented Colombians from Venezuela's border state of Tachira had been carried out with full respect for their human rights.
"There was no violation of human rights. None of them were injured or killed, none of them were hit, tortured or humiliated. Everything was done within the spirit of human rights," Venezuela's Governor of the state of Tachira Jose Vielma Mora said last Friday.
Relations between Venezuela and Colombia have become tense recently over the closing of their border by Venezuela, which accused Colombian paramilitaries of smuggling highly-subsidized goods and hurting the interests of the Venezuelan people.