We, members of the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC) as Independent Children’s Rights Institutions, recognise the positive action taken by President Trump to revoke the decision to separate children from their parents. Nevertheless we express our deep concern regarding the situation of the Children being held in detention due to the ‘Zero Tolerance’ Policy in the USA. Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly states that “states parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will”.
The trauma experienced by these children renders them more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse and the repercussions on the children’s mental health are beyond measure. The traumatic separation creates toxic stress in children and adolescents that can profoundly impact their development and increase the risk of stress-related illnesses well into adulthood.
ENOC calls on all political leaders in Europe to stand up for a global human rights and children’s rights based migration policy that ensures family reunification and provides psychological support to these children. Children on the move are first and foremost children and they should not be subject to irreparable harm caused by detention.