FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Trump’s Policies on Immigrant Children Violate the Convention on the Rights of the Child

After enacting a “zero tolerance” policy towards all adult immigrants crossing the border into the U.S., in effect separating parents from their children and keeping the children in inhumane conditions, the Trump administration now intends to rescind this measure. However, because some family records have been lost or destroyed, some children may never again be reunited with their parents.

The separation of children from their parents violates basic tenets of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), an internationally recognized agreement among nations that establishes a comprehensive set of goals for individual nations to improve children’s lives. Although the convention has worldwide recognition and support, the U.S. is the only country in the world that hasn’t yet ratified the CRC.

Separating children from their parents was a cruel measure that elicited Ivanka Trump’s tweeted response: “Thank you @POTUS for taking critical action ending family separation at our border. Congress must now act + find a lasting solution that is consistent with our shared values; the same values that so many come here seeking as they endeavor to create a better life for their families.”

Trying to put a spin on a disgraceful decision is immoral, but not surprising in an administration for which morality in taking political decisions is of no concern. There are still 3,000 children separated from their parents, and 100 are under the age of 5, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. Children and adolescents are kept in “cages”, a word disputed by the U.S. Border Patrol that says, in a statement, “It’s not inaccurate, but they are very ‘uncomfortable’ with this characterization.”

Anne Chandler, the executive director of the Houston office of the nonprofit Tahirih Justice Center said in an interview with Texas Monthly that she had heard accounts of children being separated from their parents reportedly to give them baths and never returning. When a parent asked about her child who was taken away for a bath she was told, “You won’t be seeing your child again.”

An insider’s view of the situation of children under detention was described in an article by Molly Hennessy-Fiske in the Los Angeles Times. She writes about Antar Davidson, an American of Brazilian descent who speaks Portuguese and who had been a youth care worker at the Tucson shelter Estrella del Norte. When three Brazilian children arrived at the center, officials told the siblings -aged 16, 10 and 6- that their parents were lost, which the children interpreted as dead.

When the 16-year old child ask Davidson about his parents, tears streaming down his face, Davidson decided to quit his job and speak about his experiences at the center in hopes of improving the system. He described the facility as understaffed and unequipped to deal with children going through difficult situations, as happened to the Brazilian children. “What was once a transient facility with a staff that was strained and struggling is now a permanent facility which is more prison-like,” he said.

The CRC calls for all children, including those with disabilities, to be free from violence and abuse, and compels governments to provide them with adequate nutrition and health care. The Convention also demands that children be equally and fairly treated regardless of gender, race or cultural background, have the right to express their opinions, and have freedom of thought in matters affecting them.

In addition, the CRC emphasizes the primacy and importance of the authority and responsibility of parents and family, and is consistent with the principles contained in the U.S. Bill of Rights. According to the Convention, children have the right to live with their parents unless it is not in their best interest.

Although the U.S. has not yet ratified it, the Trump administration is not legally bound by the tenets of the CRC to treat children in a humane way. It is bound by the rules of compassion and human decency.

More articles by:

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

September 25, 2018
Kenneth Surin
Fact-Finding Labour’s “Anti-Semitism” Crisis
Charles Pierson
Destroying Yemen as Humanely as Possible
James Rothenberg
Why Not Socialism?
Patrick Cockburn
How Putin Came Out on Top in Syria
John Grant
“Awesome Uncontrollable Male Passion” Meets Its Match
Guy Horton
Burma: Complicity With Evil?
Steve Stallone
Jujitsu Comms
William Blum
Bombing Libya: the Origins of Europe’s Immigration Crisis
John Feffer
There’s a New Crash Coming
Martha Pskowski
“The Emergency Isn’t Over”: the Homeless Commemorate a Year Since the Mexico City Earthquake
Fred Baumgarten
Ten Ways of Looking at Civility
Dean Baker
The Great Financial Crisis: Bernanke and the Bubble
Binoy Kampmark
Parasitic and Irrelevant: The University Vice Chancellor
September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will There Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail