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Grim report released on child detention centre in the US

Thursday 18th July 2019

Grim report released on child detention centre in the US as Kiwi petition grows

Children are running away from a border control facility in the United States that Amnesty International describes as a facility that embodies the disastrous consequences of US policies toward children seeking protection.

The revelation comes as part of an Amnesty International report released today, No Home for Children: The Homestead ‘Temporary Emergency’ Facility. It details the inadequate conditions at the Homestead facility in Florida, USA. Up to 2,000 unaccompanied children between the ages of 13-17 are being held there.

Many children at the facility have faced persecution and targeted violence in Central America, where their governments are unwilling or unable to protect them. In their desperation they made the arduous journey across thousands of miles to the US. This happened either incredibly by themselves or sometimes alongside a family member or trusted adult only to be separated from this trusted person by immigration authorities as a result of government policy that, in some instances, violates US and international human rights law.

Amnesty International Aotearoa Executive DirectorMeg de Ronde saysthe report highlights the human rights abuses from US border policies. “We know that when children arrive at Homestead, they feel scared and alone. They wear barcodes and are subject to a strict day routine and language barriers that make getting simple life necessities very difficult. Girls need to fill out a form just to get a period pad. Children need their families, they need security and care, and these types of facilities are far from that. Homestead is anything but a home.”

De Ronde says the frustrating element is that many family members are not far away. “Our researchers have found that many of these children have sponsors willing to take them, many of whom are parents and family members. But instead of releasing children into the care of loved ones it seems the administration is instead putting potential sponsors at risk of deportation.”

She adds New Zealanders have already started speaking up about the inhumane detention and deportation policies of the US. “It’s clear that Kiwis are strong human rights advocates who believe in a fair and safe world for all. We have already collected thousands of signatures for a petition that we will be taking to the US Ambassador to New Zealand, Scott Brown in early August that asks the US Congress to launch an investigation into the unsafe conditions at child detention facilities to end this deliberate cruelty.”


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