A damning United Nations report says that 7 million children are deprived of their liberty worldwide, subjected to various kinds of detentions from orphanages to prisons. “The Convention on the Rights of the Child is clear. It says deprivation of liberty for children should only be allowed as a measure of last resort,” says lead author and human rights lawyer Manfred Nowak, who adds that “stopping immigration detention” ought to be a priority for governments — particularly the U.S. — in rectifying the problem, because child immigration detention “is never a measure of last resort.” To date, the U.S. is the only U.N. member state that hasn’t ratified the convention. Nowak, who is also the former Special Rapporteur on Torture for the U.N., recounts the legacy of U.S. human rights violations starting from the detention of migrant children at the southern border and stretching back to detention-related war crimes — including prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib — committed under the Bush administration.
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