Before we get into this story, we should mention how much power the United Nations has over this situation (none), and how likely it is that Trump or any of his ghouls in the Department of Justice will listen to them (not very). Disclaimers out of the way, UN human rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani spoke to reporters in Geneva, and she didn’t mince words:
“The US should immediately halt this practice,” she told reporters in Geneva. “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.
“The use of immigration detention and family separation as a deterrent runs counter to human rights standards and principles,” she said.
At least 600 children have been separated from their parents as the result of a new Trump DOJ policy meant to deter illegal immigration, and when U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley tried to visit one of the detention centers where these children are kept, he was stonewalled at the door. It’s an enormous black eye for America, and an example to the rest of the world of our cruelty.
The only way it’s going to stop, short of a court ruling, is for enough public pressure to be heaped on the Trump administration that it becomes impossible to continue.
Shamdasani also noted that the U.S. is the only country in the world that has thus far failed to ratify the UN convention on the rights of the child. And yet, she says they’re bound by international law:
“The child’s best interest should always come first, including over migration management objectives or other administrative concerns,” she said.
“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.”
“Detention is never in the best interests of the child and always constitutes a child rights violation,” she said, calling on Washington to “adopt non-custodial alternatives that allow children to remain with their families”.
Now, it should be obvious at this point that Trump is not truly bound by international law, just as he’s not bound by constitutional law. However, the statement by the U.N. increased the pressure on him and his administration to reverse the policy, and that, at least, is a positive development.