Countries express grave concerns over human rights violation in US immigration detention centers
Published: Jul 03, 2021 03:48 PM


China and like-minded countries expressed grave concern over the violations of human rights in the US immigration detention centers at a sideline online meeting of the 47th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday. The countries called for the US and other Western countries to give up hypocrisy and double standards on human rights and take concrete measures to protect the human rights of immigrants. 

Themed on "Human Rights Situation in USA Immigration Detention Center," the sideline activity, a video meeting, was jointly held by permanent missions to the UN in Geneva of China, Venezuela, Belarus, North Korea, Iran and Syria with diplomats from more than 30 countries, officials from Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, NOGs and reporters participating on Friday. 

The security, dignity, human rights and basic freedom of immigrants should be protected. In recent years, the High Commissioner and the Special Procedures expressed concerns over US policies on immigrants, Ambassador Chen Xu, China's Permanent Representative to the UN Office at Geneva, and other International Organizations in Switzerland, said during the video meeting. 

Screenshot of the video meeting

Screenshot of the video meeting

Chen noted that many countries have expressed grave concerns about the US and some Western countries' violations of immigrants' human rights and urged them to take measures to improve the situation. The meeting would help people to understand the real situation of immigration detention centers as well as the hypocrisy and double-standards of the US human rights policies.

Héctor Constant Rosales, the Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said at the video conference that the COVID-19 pandemic has deepened global inequality and some countries are imposing illegal, unilateral, coercive measures to contain other countries' development. This is severely hurting vulnerable groups including women, children and seniors. Despite labelling itself a "human rights defender," the US actually has a notorious record on human rights and should be ashamed of it. 

Experts and scholars introduced the situation of US immigration detention centers. Alfred De Zayas, former independent expert of the UN, called for the international community to pay as much attention as to the "BLM" movement to the severe violation of human rights in these detention centers in the US. He also urged the US to take measures to protect immigrants' rights.

Zhu Ying, a professor of international law at Southwest University of Political Science and Law, said that in the last three years, the Trump administration has increased the immigration detention system in the United States to an unprecedented size, at times holding more than 56,000 people per day. 

Zhu noted that the existing illegal immigration detention mechanism in the US has caused serious violations of the basic human rights of immigrants. "

The family detention centers created by the US government are somewhat similar to World War II Nazi concentration camps. The Obama administration claimed that detention of illegal immigrants was a "civil detention" rather than criminal detention holding women and children behind the high barbed wire walls in prison uniforms," Zhu said. 

Mark Burton, a US criminal defense Lawyer, said that the US forcedly separated the immigrant children from their parents, severely violated the children's rights. The inhuman treatments toward immigrants have severely violated the United Nations Convention against Torture.

Representatives from many countries, including Russia, North Korea, Belarus, Iran, Syria and Nicaragua also made speeches and urged the US to stop arbitrary detention of immigrants or forcedly separating children from their parents. The US should focus on solving its own human rights problems and stop using human rights as tools to interfere in other countries' internal affairs.