At the 38th session of the Human Rights Council, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein called on President Donald Trump to halt the forced separation of families resulting from the president’s new immigration policy.

The call to action is just one of many to surface in the wake of Trump’s new immigration policy. The policy, which enforces the prosecution of all undocumented immigrants, has been widely criticized for separating upward of 2,000 families within the past month.

In his final opening as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. al-Hussein denounced the policy, referring to the forcible separation as “child abuse.”

“The American Association of Pediatrics has called this cruel practice ‘government-sanctioned child abuse’ which may cause ‘irreparable harm,’ with ‘lifelong consequences.’ The thought that any State would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable.”


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The human rights activist also called on the U.S “to immediately end the practice of forcible separation of these children” as well as “ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child… [which ensures] that the fundamental rights of all children, whatever their administrative status.”

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The following day, the U.S. announced its plan to pull out of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva. In a news conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trump’s U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley announced the United State’s withdrawal from the Council, labeling the institutional body as “hypocritical and self-serving.” This is not the first time the U.S voiced its frustration with the council. The previous year, Haley had threatened to pull out over complaints that the institution was biased against Israel.

The withdrawal marks another example of the U.S pulling out of multi-lateral institutions. Under the Trump administration, the U.S has already withdrawn from the Paris Climate Agreement and the Iran Nuclear Deal.

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