Saturday, June 23, 2018

Statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

UN calls on US to end 'unconscionable' separation of families at border  36 sec.

2000 children forcibly separated from their parents and other topics - Human Rights Council Briefing

United Nations   Published on Jun 18, 2018  45 min.  54 sec.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called on the United States to halt its “unconscionable” policy of forcibly separating children from migrant parents irregularly entering the country via Mexico. (Minute 36:24
 
In his final speech to the Human Rights Council Zeid expressed deep concern by recently adopted policies in the US which “punish children for their parents’ actions” with nearly two thousand children being forcibly separated from their parents in the past six weeks. He said described the practice as “cruel” and quoted the American Association of Pediatrics which called it “government-sanctioned child abuse.” He added, “The thought that any State would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable.” 
 
The High Commissioner, whose mandate ends in two and a half months, warned against “chauvinistic nationalism” which historically has been the “most destructive force to imperil the world.” He said, “Chauvinistic nationalism is the polar opposite of the UN, it’s very antonym and enemy. So why are we so submissive to its return? Why are we in the UN so silent?” 
 
Zeid spoke today (18 Jun) at the opening of the opening ceremony of the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva. He once again expressed his deep concern over the situation in Myanmar where there are clear indications of well organised, widespread and systematic attacks continuing to target the Rohingya in Rakhine State as an ethnic group, amounting to possible acts of genocide if so established by a court of law. 
 
Zeid also mentioned Syria’s leadership’s contempt and disregard for human rights. He said “horrific violations and abuses” have been committed “principally by the government and its allies, but including also the violent extremists and their supporters” have destroyed much of the country along with many of its people adding that his Office and the Council's Commission of Inquiry have been refused access to all regions in the country. 
 
The High Commissioner expressed dismay by China’s “continuing efforts to prevent independent members of civil society from engaging with human rights mechanisms.” He encourage the authorities to enable all actors to contribute to all the international human rights mechanisms. 
 
Addressing migrant protection, Zeid noted that people “do not lose their human rights by virtue of crossing a border without a visa.” He added, “I deplore the adoption by many countries of policies intended to make themselves as inhospitable as possible by increasing the suffering of many already vulnerable people.” 
 
Other countries mentioned in the context of obstacles to human rights were Venezuela, Burundi, DR Congo, and Hungary, among others. Progress was also acknowledged in a number of countries, including Ethiopia. 
 
The High Commissioner stated his conviction that the human rights ideal has been the most constructive, most successful movement of ideas in our era. He said a sustained peace has been achieved in and between many societies, conflicts have been resolved, and an increased number of people have been able to meaningfully express their views, and access education, healthcare and opportunities for development, without discrimination over the past 70 years. 
 
This year marks 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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