Teens in Cage Protest Trump Immigration Policies Outside UN, Demanding Action From Human Rights Council
“Children belong in school and with their families, not caged in detention centers.”
While an audio recording of detained migrant children crying played in the background, teenagers in T-shirts that read #ClassroomsNotCages stood in a metal cage outside the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva Monday to protest the Trump administration’s “cruel” immigration policies.
The action was part of a demonstration that aimed to draw attention to the U.N. Human Rights Council’s consideration of a complaint (pdf) filed last year by unions, faith organizations, and human and civil rights groups about the “inhumane [U.S.] policy of tearing immigrant children from their families who come to our borders seeking asylum and protection.”
“Children belong in school and with their families, not caged in detention centers,” says a website for groups that filed the complaint, which include the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and Public Services International. “We must let the UNHRC know that this cruelty and these human rights abuses cannot be ignored.”
AFT president Randi Weingarten was among those who addressed those gathered in Geneva Monday.
“In the past five months, 2,500 children have been separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. This is despite a judge’s order to stop and to reunify the children,” she said, according to Reuters. “Six children have died. We are saying to the Human Rights Council: Hear us and help us!”
Alfonso Cepeda Salas, secretary-general of SNTE, a Mexican teachers union, added: “We are here to express our profound indignation at the policy of separating children from their families. Enough, no cages for these children!”
Organizers are urging people across the globe to send letters to the UNHRC—which the Trump administration ditched last year—to “let council members know that we expect them to stand up for these innocent children who are being subjected to this unimaginable cruelty.”