RCPCH statement on Trump administration family separation policy

RCPCH President Russell Viner comments on the disturbing practice of family separation in the US.

US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to put an end to the policy of family separation in immigration facilities on the US-Mexico border.

Commenting on the situation, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health President Professor Russell Viner said:

The Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their families and detaining them in immigration facilities was appalling and a violation of their human rights. It is only right that the President has put an end to it, but the United States must now ensure that it never happens again, and go further to end family detention. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which the US has never ratified, states that children must not be separated from their parents against their will unless it is in their best interests, nor be arrested, detained or imprisoned unless as a last resort.

Separation and detention have lasting harmful impacts on children’s health. As they are still in the crucial stages of developing socially, psychologically, and neurologically, there are serious risks of the policy causing long-term psychiatric and developmental harm to the children involved.

The RCPCH has a responsibility to speak out on behalf of vulnerable children across the world. We therefore support our American Academy of Paediatrics colleagues in calling for the United States Government to put an end to this disturbing practice and will continue to monitor developments to ensure the affected children are reunited with their families, and their rights upheld.