The United Nations high commissioner for human rights has slammed the Trump administration over its controversial new "zero tolerance" policy, which calls for the separation of immigrant children from their parents at the border, The New York Times reports. "The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable," said the high commissioner, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, on Monday.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who announced the policy in May, indicated in his remarks that it was intended to deter families who were considering crossing the border illegally. "If you don't want your child separated, then don't bring them across the border illegally," he said in public comments at the time.
The high commissioner also cited the president of the American Association of Pediatrics, who called the separation of children from their parents "government-sanctioned child abuse." The U.N. human rights office earlier claimed that the Trump administration's policy violates children's rights and international law.
"I call on the United States to immediately end the practice of forcible separation of these children, and I encourage the government to at last ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in order to ensure that the fundamental rights of all children, whatever their administrative status, will be at the center of all domestic laws and policies," said al-Hussein.