U.N. report: ‘Inhuman’ migrant child detentions highest in U.S.

A child migrant looks through the border fence into the United States at Playas de Tijuana in Tijuana, Mexico. File Photo by Ariana Drehsler/UPI

Nov. 19 (UPI) — The United States has the world’s highest rate of child detention, and its policy of separating children at the U.S.-Mexico border amounts to “inhuman treatment,” a United Nations human rights report said Tuesday.

Attorney Manfred Nowak authored the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ “Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty” and said U.S. policy under President Donald Trump to separate migrant children from parents is “absolutely prohibited” by the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“I would call it inhuman treatment for both the parents and the children,” he said.

“There are still quite a number of children that are separated from their parents — and neither the children know where the parents are, nor the parents know where the children are,” he added. “So, that is something that definitely should not happen again.

“I’m also happy that within the United States politics there was a lot of criticism of this inhuman treatment.”

Nowak estimates more than 100,000 migrant children are still being held in U.S. detention centers.

“That’s far more than all the other countries where we have reliable figures.”

Nowak added that the criminal incarceration rate of children in the United States is also very high.

“It’s about 60 [children] out of 100,000,” he said. “That is the highest that we could find, followed by others like Bolivia, or Botswana or Sri Lanka.”

The U.N. report coincides with the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Child — which says child detentions should generally be avoided, used only as a last resort and then only if absolutely necessary “for the shortest possible period of time.”


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