The head of the United Nations Human Rights Commission has demanded that the Trump administration immediately stop separating migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
U.N. High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein has called upon Donald Trump to stop enforcing his new zero tolerance policies which cause the the U.S. Border Patrol to separate migrant children from their parents after entering the United States from Mexico.
United States immigration authorities have detained almost 2,000 children in the past six weeks, which may cause them irreparable harm with lifelong consequences.
Ra’ad al-Hussein spoke at Monday’s opening of a regular Human Rights Council session saying it’s “unconscionable” that any country would seek to deter parents from migrating “by inflicting such abuse on children.”
“The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable. I call on the United States to immediately end the practice of forcible separation of these children,” al-Hussein said.
“People do not lose their human rights by virtue of crossing a border without a visa,” he said, adding, “I deplore the adoption by many countries of policies intended to make themselves as inhospitable as possible by increasing the suffering of many already vulnerable people.”
Al-Hussein also quoted the American Academy of Pediatrics, which he said had called the practice of forcing parents to part with their children “government-sanctioned child abuse” which may cause “irreparable harm,” with “‘lifelong consequences.”
The Academy of Pediatrics has been one of the most vocal groups to criticize the U.S. government policy of separating parents from their children. The group’s President, Dr. Colleen A. Kraft, on Monday published an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times.
In the piece she described touring a facility where children are being held, where she saw a little girl, “her face splotched red from crying, her fists balled up in frustration, pounding on a play mat in the shelter. No parent was there to scoop her up, no known and trusted adult to rub her back and soothe her sobbing.”
Dr. Kraft said that separating children from their parents by force was a “form of child abuse,” and called for an end to the policy.