The US is violating the Human Rights of Children – and the UN is calling us out on it.

That is a title to a post that I never thought I would have to write.

It’s something I never wanted to write – because I didn’t want it be true.

But here’s the reality:

  • Previously, the US Customs and Border patrols would, I’ve been told, keep children with their parents when they arrive at the border unless they had significant reason to believe they were not with relatives and were at risk of being trafficked.  In that case, the child would be placed in a foster care situation while the situation was resolved or other family was located.   I don’t have the statistics but from what I understand the number was minimal.
  • The current administration, specifically Attorney General Jeff Sessions, acting under direction of the President, changed that policy.   That policy is now a zero tolerance policy.   What does that mean?   That means that if you show up at the border and want to come in to the United States, our government will take your children.  We will put you in prison in one prison and we will put your child somewhere else and we won’t tell you where.   And the place where we put your child will probably not be a nice place, probably not be adequately staffed and will definitely be highly traumatic to your child(ren).   
  • Oh and it doesn’t matter whether you are here seeking asylum or here without the proper documentation, the current administration is doing that for and to everyone.  At least everyone who is coming in through Mexico gets treated that way.

Let me make sure I’m perfectly clear – we are a country that has put economic sanctions in place against other countries because of human rights violations in those countries.   And now the UN is saying that we’re violating human rights also.

Here’s part of what the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights had to say about us:

We are deeply concerned that the zero tolerance policy recently put in place along the US southern border has led to people caught entering the country irregularly being subjected to criminal prosecution and having their children – including extremely young children -taken away from them as a result.

The practice of separating families amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child. While the rights of children are generally held in high regard in the US, it is the only country in the world not to have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We encourage it to accede to the Convention and to fully respect the rights of all children.

The use of immigration detention and family separation as a deterrent runs counter to human rights standards and principles. The child’s best interest should always come first, including over migration management objectives or other administrative concerns. It is therefore of great concern that in the US migration control appears to have been prioritised over the effective care and protection of migrant children.

Children should never be detained for reasons related to their own or their parents’ migration status. Detention is never in the best interests of the child and always constitutes a child rights violation.

Read the entire briefing from Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23174&LangID=E

I would really like to think that all except for the most hardened and heartless racists would see that those who come to the border, whether they come seeking asylum or whether they come hoping to enter without documentation are coming because they have lost all hope of a decent life for them and their children in their birth country.   And that those who are coming deserve to be treated with human dignity and the human rights that every human deserves.

Apparently I am wrong.   Because if this move was truly unpopular with their “fan base” then the current administration would not be doing it.

That is truly disappointing.

I will have more thoughts and suggestions on how to let your opinion be known, hopefully later this afternoon.

Stay tuned

Tom

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