US Migration, Rights Policies Challenged Before The United Nations Human Rights Council

By Felicia J. Persaud

News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Fri. Nov. 8, 2019:
When one
thinks of complaints to the United Nations Human Rights Council, (UNHRC) over
human rights, one almost always assumes the accused nations are dictatorial regimes
carrying out xenophobic agendas.

Sadly in 2019, the label is being largely levelled at superpower, United
States under the Donald Trump administration. Global rights group, Human Rights
Watch, (HRW), this month complained to the UNHRC that the United States has
failed to implement recommendations it agreed to in its 2015 Universal Periodic
Review (UPR) of protection of human rights in the domestic sphere reviews,
including those involving treatment of immigrants, criminal justice and
policing, access to health care, women’s rights, and privacy.

The HRW submission came even though the United States in 2018, withdrew
from the United Nations Human Rights Council, representing what the rights
group pointed out is “just one step in the country’s steady regression in the
protection of human rights.”

That includes of course the numerous abuses against immigrants, as HRW
reiterated, including separating  children – including infants and toddlers – from
their family members; detaining migrants, including children and families, in
inhumane conditions; failing to provide adequate medical care to detained
migrants and restricting access to asylum through policies such as returning
asylum seekers to Mexico, where they often cannot pay for basic necessities and
remain at risk of serious crime, including kidnapping, sexual assault, and
violence.

This
came even though the United States had committed to providing “appropriate procedural
safeguards in immigration proceedings,” stating that “oncitizens in the U.S.
facing removal receive significant procedural protections.” But Human Rights
Watch told UNHRC that is has documented the pervasive lack of such safeguards
and found that US immigration officials’ methods for interviewing migrants in
expedited removal procedures are seriously flawed, leading to the rapid return
to other countries of people who face harm, contrary to US law and
international standards.

A
new rule proposing the expansion of expedited removal would expose thousands
more people living in the US to these same flawed procedures, likely separating
families through deportation and resulting in asylum seekers erroneously being
deported, HRW stated.

The
rights group is urging the U.S. through UNHRC to do the following:

  1. “Expeditiously develop and implement alternatives
    to immigration detention and ensure accountability for abuses;
  2. End the use of immigration detention for children,
    unaccompanied and with families.
  3. Stop separating child migrants from their family
    members except where a trained child welfare professional has determined
    separation is in the child’s best interest;
  4. End the Migrant Protection Protocols program and
    ensure broad access to US asylum procedures;
  5. Guarantee access to adequate medical care for all
    detained immigrants and ensure effective and appropriate oversight, including
    public release of investigations into detainee deaths;
  6. End the use of expedited removal procedures at the
    border and in the interior of the country.”

These
are a valid list of recommendations and it would be great if the UNHRC could
force the Trump administration to urgently make this rights changes.

But
we won’t hold our breath given the racist and xenophobic agenda of this
administration. As HRW itself pointed out – “the UPR is ineffective if limited to a conceptual
exercise, and no country should claim success by accepting recommendations that
require no identifiable outcomes or even proof of a deliberative process.”

And
sadly, we believe the UNHRC also will
be labelled “ineffective” in any effort to make the administration see the
errors of its ways.

The
writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow

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