GENEVA: The UN on Tuesday urged the U.S. to halt its zero tolerance policy for migrants caught entering the country irregularly, who are then subjected to criminal prosecution and their children taken away from them.
“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 UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokeswoman, Ravina Shamdasani, told a news conference in Geneva.
Noting that several hundred children have been separated from their families since last October, she said: “The majority of people arriving at the U.S.’s southern border have fled Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador — in many cases either because of rampant insecurity and violence, or because of violations of a range of other rights, such as health, education, and housing.”
“The U.S. should immediately halt this practice of separating families and stop criminalizing what should at most be an administrative offense — that of irregular entry or stay in the U.S.,” she said.
“We call on the U.S. authorities to adopt non-custodial alternatives that allow children to remain with their families and fulfill the best interests of the child, their right to liberty and their right to family life,” she added. (AA