Tag Archives: Children

‘Shocking’ Report Reveals Thousands of Migrant Children Have Been Sexually Abused While in US Custody

“The horrifying conditions these children face is a human rights emergency that won’t be solved with a wall.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-26-2019

The Tornillo facility, a shelter for children of detained migrants, in Tornillo, Texas, U.S., is seen in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, obtained by Reuters June 25, 2018. (Photo: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Handout)

A House hearing on the Trump administration’s family separation policy on Tuesday revealed that thousands of children in U.S. custody over the past five years have been subjected to sexual abuse in migrant detention centers.

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) released documents from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) showing that more than 4,500 complaints of sexual abuse against minors were filed between 2014 and 2018. More than 1,300 complaints were referred to the Department of Justice. Continue reading

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‘The US Government Has Scarred My Daughter and Me for Life’: Families Sue Trump Over Deliberate and ‘Inexplicable Cruelty’

“The government’s use of emotionally traumatizing children to try to achieve a policy objective very clearly meets all the legal elements of the offense intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-12-2019

Photo: ACLU

Accusing the Trump administration of deliberate and “inexplicable cruelty” perpetrated against them under it’s so-called “zero tolerance” immigration policy, six families have filed suit against the U.S. government for the harm and “lasting trauma” they continue to suffer.

In the filing, six mothers described having their children torn away from them, with officials giving them little to no information about where their children were, if they were safe, and when they would be reunited—treatment that the lawyers involved in the suit argue fit the legal definition of intentionally inflicting emotional distress. Continue reading

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‘Club of One’: US Now Lone UN Member Outside Children’s Rights Treaty

The U.S. helped draft part of the Convention on the Rights of the Child—so why hasn’t it ratified it?

Written by Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-2-15.

The U.S. is now the only UN member state not to have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. (Photo: Glenn Beltz/flickr/cc)

The U.S. is now the only UN member state not to have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. (Photo: Glenn Beltz/flickr/cc)

Somalia on Thursday completed its ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child—becoming the 196th nation to do so and making the United States the only United Nations state outside of the treaty.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child explains that the Convention, adopted in 1989, “is the most widely ratified international human rights treaty, sets out a number of children’s rights including the right to life, to health, to education and to play, as well as the right to family life, to be protected from violence, to not be discriminated, and to have their views heard.”

As for why the U.S. would not ratify this convention that it helped draft and has already signed, Amnesty International has explained that conservative organizations like the Christian Coalition, Family Research Council, and Focus on the Family, “have made a significant effort to portray the Convention as a threat. The majority of the oppositions claims stem from unfounded concerns related to national sovereignty, states’ rights, and the parent-child relationship.”

The convention needs the approval of two-thirds of the U.S. Senate, where, Amnesty continues, it “has encountered a notable level of opposition” as a result of these misconceptions.

Jo Becker, Advocacy Director of Human Rights Watch’s Children’s Rights Division, writes about the main roadblock the Convention faces in the U.S.:

The main legal challenge for US ratification is that it remains the only country to sentence children to life in prison without the possibility of parole – a punishment the treaty specifically prohibits. The US Supreme Court has issued several decisions in recent years that have progressively narrowed the use of this sentence against child offenders, and states should prohibit it completely. The US should ratify the treaty and declare that it is working to end the practice in the states that allow it.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

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#OccupyPlayground: Kenya’s Kids Give a Real Life Lesson

Photo by @iGitz_ via Twitter

Photo by @iGitz_ via Twitter

In what has been described as the worst attack against Kenya’s schoolchildren since independence transpired in Nairobi, on Monday school children defended their playground against a land-grabbing politician with enough power that even the authorities can not seem to stop him.

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By Their Deeds Shall Ye Know Them

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Discrimination takes many forms. Perhaps its most dangerous form is when the person or group discriminating does it in the name of religion or national security. Populism and social identity have a tendency to be the loudest voices in the room, and few others can get a word in edgewise.

By now, you are completely aware of the border crisis taking place in Texas and Arizona. While I watch the news reports, see the people with their home made signs, and hear the vitriol spewing from the mouths of “Americans”, there are a few questions that come to my mind.

Did you notice this was not a crisis until the extreme right wing began protesting the policy they claim is Obama’s, when in fact Bush was the one that signed the bill that started all of this in the first place?

When did we abandon the motto that rests on Ellis Island in New York, at the universal symbol of freedom and democracy known the world over as the Statue of Liberty; ““Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”? When did we decide as a nation to no longer be a melting pot?

How many of our ancestors came here generations ago for the very same reasons that people seek to come here today; to escape starvation, persecution, social inequality, discrimination, freedom from and for religion, education opportunity and the chance to work hard enough to have a good life?

When did we decide to treat children as criminals and animals, where they are hunted, herded, transported and fed with less respect than a Texan rancher gives his cattle herd? And when did we decide that children running for their lives should not deserve protection?

When did we become concerned with ONLY our southern border, considering that significant numbers of illegal drugs and immigrants pour over the northern border on a daily basis? And the only terrorists arrested for entering the US illegally crossed the northern border. Oh – is that because those immigrants have white skin, the drugs are cocaine and opium instead of marijuana, and since it covers such a larger area, we just can’t deal with it?

And my last question is the one that I think is the most important of them all. Before I ask the question, let me share a little back story. Last June, leading Republicans insisted that America’s leaders must do more to defend Christian values at home and abroad. “Those of us inspired by Judeo-Christian values…have an obligation to our country and to our fellow man to use our positions of influence to highlight those values,” Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio said at a conference hosted by the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a group led by long-time Christian political activist Ralph Reed. And his pal, Ted Cruz, is no better. “U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz — whose father is Rafael Cruz, a rabid right-wing Christian preacher, is rooted in a radical Christian ideology known as Dominionism or Christian Reconstructionism. This ideology calls on anointed “Christian” leaders to take over the state and make the goals and laws of the nation “biblical.”

When I was a little girl growing up in rural America, I went to church on Sundays, where we sang a children’s song that stayed with me all my life. “Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world. Red or yellow, black or white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.” One of my favorite biblical passages tells us how to live: “And whosoever shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whosoever shall offend one of these little ones who believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and that he were drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 18:5-6)

After hearing the language that is contained in proposed bills and acts to resolve the border crisis, it is clear that these children are thought of as despised freeloaders, terror babies, criminals and filthy animals. How then, does this support the agenda stated last June calling for “defending Christian values at home and abroad?” Would Jesus be on the line stopping buses and demanding children be sent back where their return would mean certain death? Would He be asking for ankle bracelets and deportation within 72 hours? Or maybe if He came back today and walked across the southern US border, would you treat Jesus the same way these children are being treated?

Children’s Rights are Human Rights.

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