We consider the forced separation of these children from their families to be both unethical and in conflict with international human rights instruments including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children.  We share the sentiments of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in describing this separation of children from their families as ‘unconscionable’ and an ‘abuse on children’.

We oppose any unnecessary separation of children from their families, fueled by our awareness of the indisputable evidence of the impact such unnecessary separation can have on children’s mental, social, and physical well-being and the violations such separation pose to their fundamental human rights.  Children have the right to be cared for properly, and for their survival and well-being, they need physical and psychological support from parents or carers in a nurturing family environment, wherever possible and appropriate.

We encourage particular consideration for the rights and protection of migrant children, most of whom have fled violence and impoverished communities in hopes of security and protection.

In light of the June 20, 2018 Executive Order to halt the forced separation of children from families at the US border, we urge the US government to:

  • Ensure the new order is immediately and effectively implemented to ensure no further unnecessary separations occur;
  • Ensure those already subjected to this separation, an estimated 2,300 children,  are reunited immediately, unless reunification with a parent or guardian poses a risk to the child;
  • Recognize that the children exposed to these separations to date may have experienced trauma, abuse or other forms of harm as a result of this separation and should be assessed and provided access to necessary psychosocial supports immediately;
  • Recognize the impact any form of unnecessary institutionalization can pose for children and seek to implement alternatives to detention for children and families wherever possible as a matter of policy;
  • Publish real time data as to the number of unaccompanied children and families with children in detention and corresponding demographic information along with the number of children who have been separated from their parents under the administration’s now reversed policy.
  • Ensure the quality of care being delivered in all detention centers, paying particular attention to remedying the concerns raised by the American Academy of Pediatrics in their March 2017 report;
  • Ensure care decisions and planning for each child uphold their individual rights, are provided closest to their community and family of origin, and are assessed in light of each child’s individual best interests;
  • Commit to preventing the placement of any child under the age of three in any form of institutional care as a matter of national policy.
  • Uphold the rights of asylum seekers to protection and due process recognizing the violence, abuse and life-threatening conditions from which most children and families are fleeing in their migration.

Family for Every Child joins the global community of human rights actors, care practitioners and child protection experts committed to ensuring meaningful and lasting reform occurs on behalf of these children immediately.  We call upon the US Government to make necessary changes to uphold the international standards and instruments guiding the rights of children and families immediately as a matter of urgency.