Under the Trump administration, family separations occurring at the border are in violation of international law and by U.S. legal definitions, constitute child abduction. The Endowment recognizes this as an humanitarian crisis.
Erika Guevara-Rosas, US director at Amnesty International referred to the Trump administration’s “no tolerance” policy as “a flagrant violation of their [parents and children] human rights. Doing so in order to push asylum seekers back into dangerous situations where they may face persecution is also a violation of US obligations under refugee law.”
The New York Times reported in June 2018: “There are countless horror stories about what’s happening to immigrants under Trump…This month, an Ecuadorian immigrant with an American citizen wife and a pending green card application was detained at a Brooklyn military base where he had gone to deliver a pizza; a judge has temporarily halted his deportation, but he remains locked up. Immigration officers are boarding trains and buses and demanding that passengers show them their papers.”
Under the radar, from October 2017 to April 2018, more than 700 children, including 100 under the age of four, have already been seized from their parents and sent away. Since U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced his illegal plans, the snatching of children has accelerated. In the first two weeks of implementation, 650 were torn from their mothers’ and fathers’ arms and sent to detention centers.
Children are among the most vulnerable citizens in society, as they rely on the care and protection of adults. Therefore, society has a special obligation to protect children's fundamental rights until they reach an age and maturity where they can take over this responsibility themselves.
The Endowment urges governments to equate all children under the age of 18 regardless of sex, cultural background or religious convictions, so that they have the same legal requirements for bodily integrity and autonomy.
Such measures would determine that for such interventions not consistent with direct health benefit to the person, neither the minor or the custodians may give informed consent; that any person who, in a bodily attack, with or without consent, cuts or otherwise removes external sex organs in whole or in part, is sentenced to imprisonment.
The Endowment believes that the child has the right to care and safety. It must be treated with respect for its person and must not be subjected to physical punishment or other offensive treatment, including non-therapeutic mutilations.
Church Abuse Cover-Ups
The ongoing patterns of child abuse within protected religious institutions span up and down the Americas, as lengthy report into allegations of sexual abuse and related cover-ups within Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic churches remained was released as recently as June 2018.
Further south, Pope Francis recently acknowledged a “culture of abuse” in Chile and Vatican investigators found a pattern of inaction and concealment, Chilean prosecutors have stepped up their own efforts to investigate scores of church officials.
According to The New York Times: “Special prosecutors, who have been appointed in each of Chile’s 15 regions, are examining cases involving 104 potential victims, half of whom were underage when the reported offenses took place. Nearly 70 clergy and lay people are under investigation, including three bishops.”
While reforms in the Catholic Church in the United States have made it mandatory for priests to report instances of sexual abuse, there still remains much work to be done in the Catholic Church worldwide. One of the challenges in tackling this issue is the hierarchy of the church itself. It is still difficult to hold high-ranking clerics responsible, either for the misdeeds of their subordinates or for the crimes that they may have committed themselves. The Endowment considers the latter an unchartered imperative in this age-old humanitarian crisis.