UN Rights chief implores US to stop taking migrant children from parents

The United Nations’ top human rights official on Monday added to the mounting furor over the Trump administration’s policy of separating undocumented immigrant children from their parents, calling for an immediate halt to a practice he condemned as abuse.

United States immigration authorities have detained almost 2,000 children in the past six weeks, which may cause them irreparable harm with lifelong consequences, said Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights. He cited an observation by the president of the American Association of Pediatrics that locking the children up separately from their parents constituted “government-sanctioned child abuse.”

“The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable,” Mr. al-Hussein said.

His intervention added to an escalating chorus of condemnation from people across the political spectrum in the United States, including the former first lady Laura Bush, who called the separations “cruel” and “immoral.”

The high commissioner’s office had already condemned the practice of separating children from their parents this month, calling it a serious violation of children’s rights and international law. That drew an angry rebuke from Nikki R. Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, who accused the agency of ignorance and hypocrisy.

[New York Times]

3 thoughts on “UN Rights chief implores US to stop taking migrant children from parents

  1. The issue took on special resonance on Father’s Day in the US. Republican Senator Susan Collins said, “What the administration has decided to do is to separate children from their parents to try to send a message that, if you cross the border with children, your children are going to be ripped away from you. That is traumatizing to the children, who are innocent victims. And it is contrary to our values in this country.”
    Melania Trump also weighed in, saying she “hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together.” Mrs. Trump “believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with a heart,” the first lady’s office said in a statement.
    Mrs. Bush, the last Republican first lady, spoke out forcefully against the practice on Sunday in a rare foray into domestic politics, comparing it to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. She wrote in The Washington Post. “… this zero tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”
    Former President Bill Clinton likewise spoke out, suggesting that Mr. Trump was using the widely denounced practice to leverage Democrats into accepting immigration limits in legislation they would otherwise oppose. “These children should not be a negotiating tool,” he wrote on Twitter. “And reuniting them with their families would reaffirm America’s belief in & support for all parents who love their children.”

  2. Pingback: US quits UN human rights body, citing bias vs. Israel | International Aid and Development

  3. In a rare retreat amid continued outrage about his “zero tolerance” policy at the southern border, President Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order to end family separations. His directive was expected to keep families together but in indefinite detention.
    Trump’s reversal on the 6-week-old family separation policy was remarkable given his aversion to admit error or back down. That reflected the White House’s desperation to quash one of its worst crises to date — over a policy that drew condemnation from Republicans as well as Democrats, all four former first ladies and conservative and liberal religious leaders.

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