United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Monday added her name to the list of those critical of how the U.S. is handling the situation at its southern border, The Washington Post reports. Bachelet stated that several U.N. human rights bodies have found that the detention of migrant children may constitute "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment that is prohibited by international law," the OHCHR said.
Bachelet, keeping in line with her predecessor, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, who criticized the Trump administration's child separation policy, said she is "appalled by the conditions" migrants have had to face after crossing the border. The commissioner said that "any deprivation of liberty" for migrants and refugees "should be a measure of last resort," adding that detention should last for the briefest amount of time possible.
She was especially shocked at the treatment of migrant children, noting that they were without access to food, health care, and sanitation, while being forced to sleep on the floor in overcrowded facilities.
"Consider the damage being done every day by allowing this alarming situation to continue," Bachelet, a pediatrician, said.
Bachelet's comments follow a report by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General last week, which concluded that the "urgent" situation at the border required swift action and advised the federal government to immediately work toward finding a solution.