The American administration’s zero tolerance on their southern border is a full frontal assault on human decency. We have seen the haunting, harrowing images – children being forcibly removed from their parents and incarcerated in deplorable conditions with total contempt for their physical and mental well-being. Along that border of inequity, the rights of Mexican and Central American children are on life support and compassion from the powers that be is MIA.
The United States is one of only two countries that have not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This current border policy abomination is contravening multiple Convention articles.
Article 3 (Best interests of the child): The best interests of children must be the primary concern in making decisions that may affect them. All adults should do what is best for children. When adults make decisions, they should think about how their decisions will affect children. This particularly applies to budget, policy and law makers.
Domestic and international condemnation have weakened President Trump’s resolve. American citizens and the rest of the world will have to remain vigilant to ensure there is no backsliding and to help reunite the children snatched from their families.
Last night by accident I happened across some archival photos of migrant labour camps in the US from the 1940s. I don’t profess to know much about these camps. They were managed by the Farm Security Administration and seem to have provided relief for displaced and destitute domestic laborers as well as temporary living arrangements for workers from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
Kids in these camps could play
Farm Security Administration migratory farm labor camp. Saturday morning baseball game, Robstown, Texas – January, 1942. Photo credit – Arthur Rothstein. Library of Congress
While continuing to advocate on behalf of children and families who have taken the brunt of Trump’s irrational and mean spirited actions, let’s remember goodness. It is all around us.
Children playing on slide at Farm Security Administration labor camp, Caldwell, Idaho – June, 1941. Photo credit – Russell Lee. Library of Congress.
Let’s remember that human rights are the foundation of our democratic traditions. These inalienable rights enshrine dignity, liberty and equality for all. By and large, we take our democratic responsibilities seriously and don’t allow partisan considerations to cloud our judgement.
Let’s agree that kids should stay with their families and have a chance to play.
Children playing at Shafter migrant camp. Shafter, California – March 1940. Photo credit – Arthur Rothstein.