UN/Treaties

UN human rights head: Trump policy separating migrant families is abuse

The United Nation's (U.N.) top human rights official on Monday called on the Trump administration to end its "zero tolerance" policy, which has resulted in the separation of migrant families at the southern border, calling the practice abusive.

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, spoke out against the policy during an address in Geneva, The New York Times reported.

"The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable," al-Hussein said.

He highlighted in his address that U.S. immigration officials had detained about 2,000 children over the past six weeks.

Al-Hussein also cited a statement from the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, who said that detaining children separately from their parents was "government-sanctioned child abuse" that could cause permanent and irreversible harm to children.

The U.N. official's office had spoken out against policies separating children and parents earlier this month, saying the measures violate children's rights and international law.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley hit back at that statement at the time, calling it hypocritical.

"Neither the United Nations nor anyone else will dictate how the United States upholds its borders," she said.

The Trump administration implemented a "zero tolerance" policy at the border earlier this year, prosecuting all adults caught illegally crossing the border.

Migrant children and adults are separated while the adults are processed.

The policy has drawn massive backlash, but President Trump has attempted to shift responsibility to Democratic lawmakers to change the measure.

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