Unicef Says Forced Separation Of Migrant Families Heart-breaking
Unicef executive director Henrietta Fore says children should not be separated from their migrant parents, referring to the controversial practice by the US government on its border with Mexico. Following a domestic and global outcry President Trump signed an executive order halting forced separation but refused to be cowed by the criticism. Ms Fore says that the stories of children and babies being separated from parents whose only crime is to seek safety is heart-breaking.
Children are children
She adds that no matter where children come from or what their migration status is, they are children first. People who feel they have no option but to flee their homes should have the right to feel protected. Children must be kept with their families just like all other children and they must be given access to essential services.
Separation is traumatic
Separating families and then detaining them are traumatic experiences for children as well as adults. Children in particular can be left vulnerable to exploitation and abuse which can negatively impact their long-term development Ms Fore warns. She adds that it is in no one’s interest to separate children from their parents, particularly for children who suffer the most. Child welfare is the most important thing and it is hoped that the decision to end the practice.
Thankfully the practice has ended
Ms Fore is cognisant of the fact that the US government and its people have supported Unicef in its efforts to help child refugees, migrants and asylum seekers affected by crises all over the world for many decades. Mr Trump signed the order stopping the practice on June 20th. In the prior six weeks, over 2,000 children had been separated from parents who had crossed over in the United States from Mexico illegally. Those children have been placed in detention centres across the South-Western United States and there is still no word on their fate.
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