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U.S. tramples on human rights at will

By Zhong Sheng (People's Daily)    16:16, November 26, 2019

An unprecedented amount of 69,550 unaccompanied migrant children were held in U.S. government custody between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019, up 42 percent year on year, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Most of the migrant children in detention suffered from inhumane treatment, exposing America's flagrant disregard for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and willful violations of human rights.

November 20 of this year marks the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the UNCRC, the first legally binding international convention on protecting the rights of children.

Ironically, the U.S., which claims itself to be a defender of human rights, is the only country in the world that has not ratified the treaty.

On June 2, 2018, an independent expert report on human rights and international solidarity, in accordance with the resolution 35/3 of the UN Human Rights Council, pointed out that the U.S., driven by populism, slandered and smeared the immigrants with racist and xenophobic expressions and forced apart the migrant children and their parents, seriously endangering the life, dignity, liberty and other human rights of immigrants.

The use of immigration detention and family separation as a deterrent runs counter to human rights standards and principles, according to Ravina Shamdasani, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, warning that the U.S. should immediately halt this practice of separating families.

The U.S., which flouts the UNCRC, has kept a poor record on human rights for a long time. In April last year, the U.S. started to pursue a so-called "zero tolerance" immigration policy, causing at least 2,000 children to be separated from their parents.

As a grave violation of the human rights of the migrants, such practice was strongly condemned by the international community.

Between 2014 and 2018, a total of 4,556 sexual abuse complaints were reported to the Office of Refugee Resettlement—an agency within DHHS in charge of caring for unaccompanied migrant minors, 178 cases of which involved alleged sexual abuse by adult caregivers at U.S. facilities, according to DHHS documents released in February, 2019.

In June, 2019, an illegal child detention center in Texas, the U.S. invited criticism for its harsh conditions. For several weeks, the children there weren't able to take a shower or wash their hands with soap. They suffered from flu and other diseases and were treated inhumanely.

"So far this year, at least 35,000 asylum seekers have been pushed back to Mexican border areas to wait for their hearings," said Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in September, adding that the cases of family separation, denial of access to services and humanitarian assistance, and excessive use of force against migrants are also noted.

To her astonishment, many children were detained in U.S. centers for a long time because of identity issues, which she believes seriously violated the human rights of the migrant children.

Protecting children's rights is protecting the future of human beings, said Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), at a conference that celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

When countries around the world are stepping up efforts to protect children's rights, the U.S. infringes on children's rights at will, which seems all the more despicable.

The U.S. is always making a great fuss over human rights, pointing fingers at other countries and criticizing them for violations of human rights based on distorted facts. Never has it asked what contribution itself has made to the cause of human rights in the world.

On the one hand, the U.S. withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council, refused to participate in the UN Global Compact for Migration or ratify important human rights instruments in international law such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

It has not only evaded international rules but also caused many tragedies such as the forced separation of migrant children from their parents.

On the other hand, under the guise of human rights, the U.S. tries to stir up troubles and sow discord in an attempt to interfere in other countries' internal affairs and create chaos in the international arena.

America's poor record on human rights revealed its hypocrisy and ruthlessness. For the U.S., the international law is nothing more than an excuse, a Russian lawmaker pointed out, adding that the international law is legitimate to them only when the U.S. intends to seize territories of other countries, overthrow other legitimate governments, or plunder other people's resources; otherwise, the country can abandon the international law at any time.

If you look at the history of the international law, most of the concepts and ideas were put forward by western thinkers—including American thinkers, said Kishore Mahbubani, a professor from the National University of Singapore.

Mahbubani added that the paradox is that American thinkers have provided the world with some of the best ideas in the international law, while the U.S. has committed some of the most serious violations of the international law.

The professor's view is worth thinking through for some American politicians. The U.S. turns a blind eye to the human rights disasters happened in its own country, and uses the tool of human rights to maintain American hegemony in the world. Such a hypocritical perspective on human rights will only make itself a laughingstock in the international community.

(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People's Daily to express its views on foreign policy.)

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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