Justice For Children And Families Separated At The Border

UN Human Rights Council

The AFT has taken steps to formally file a complaint with the United Nations. The zero tolerance policy that separates children from their families violates international law, including the U.N. Convention Against Torture and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Along with the complaint, we're sending this letter.

Will you add your name to our letter urging the United Nations Human Rights Council and the international community to take action?

Sponsored by
Washington, DC

To: UN Human Rights Council
From: [Your Name]

Dear High Commissioner Al Hussein:

Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
–Universal Declaration of Human Rights

We are filing this complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Council in a plea for justice for the children and families subject to torture and gross violations of human rights as the result of the “zero tolerance” policy promulgated and promoted by President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. This policy is intentionally separating children from their parents who are seeking asylum and protection from civil war, intolerance and social upheaval.

The trauma caused by family separation is heinous under any circumstances, particularly in a civil society centered on family values. It is intolerable and unlawful to separate families who have sacrificed everything to escape the toxic circumstances of their home countries.

The right of asylum is fundamental among human rights principles and is well-established in U.S. and international law. The Trump administration’s blanket policy of zero tolerance is far from a legitimate attempt to resolve important migration issues before us; rather it reveals the administration’s cruelty and its lack of decency and respect for humanity. When the administration tweets “if you are seeking asylum for your family, there is no reason to break the law,” it reveals a cynicism that is both craven and immoral.

The administration’s refusal to grant asylum to refugees violates the letter and the spirit of numerous U.N. treaties and protocols that establish the international community’s human rights norms and standards, including the Right to Family, the U.N.’s Convention Against Torture, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the U.N.’s Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights at International Borders.

In filing this complaint, we call upon the UNHRC to help ensure that migrant families who have been separated have equal and effective access to justice. We ask the council, in the name of the international community, to condemn this policy of separating families and call for its immediate revocation.

We were gratified to see your statement against the zero tolerance policy. Your swift condemnation has been welcome, but at this moment actions are more important than words. That is what has moved us to file this complaint. We know that your actions, and the council’s eventual judgement, will be validated by the thousands of concerned citizens who joined us in submitting this complaint.

Randi Weingarten
American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
A. Philip Randolph Institute
Alianza Americas
Alianza Nacional de Campesinas
Alliance for Quality Education
Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA)
Reverend William J. Barber II
Reverend Micah Bucey
Pastor Ron Buford, Congregational Church of Sunnyvale, CA (UCC)*
Center for Popular Democracy
Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues
Steve Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition*
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW)
Rabbi Ayelet S. Cohen
Congregation Beit Simchat Torah
Reverend Martin B. Copenhaver, President, Andover Newton Theological School*
Reverend Dr. Herbert Daughtry, National Presiding Minister, The House of the Lord Churches*
John Dorhauer, President, United Church of Christ*
Reverend Kaji S. Douša, Senior Pastor, Park Avenue Christian Church*
Hazel Dukes, New York State Chapter, NAACP*
Education International
Rabbi Michael E. Feinberg, Executive Director, Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition*
Forum for Youth Investment
Rabbi Pam Frydman
Rabbi Bob Gluck
Anthony Harmon, President, New York Chapter, NAACP*
Hip Hop Caucus
Hispanic Federation
Hispanic Heritage Foundation
Pastor Charles Johnson
Kids In Need of Defense (KIND)
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum
Fred Kowal, President, United University Professions (UUP)*
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Rabbi Vivian Mayer, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College*
Rabbi Mordechai Liebling
MANA, A National Latina Organization
Mi Familia Vota
Move On
National Action Network
National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE)
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
National Coalition on Black Civic Participation National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA)
National Education Association (NEA)
National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA)
National Immigration Law Center
National Migrant & Seasonal Head Start Association
National Nurses United (NNU)
National Organization for Women
Reverend Dr. John A. Nelson, Church on the Hill, UCC*
New York Communities for Change
New York Immigrant Rights Coalition
NYC Coalition for Educational Justice
Andy Pallotta, President, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT)*
Pastors for America’s Children
PEN America
Pride at Work
Professional Staff Congress/CUNY, AFT Local 2334
Public Services International (PSI)
Cantor Steve Puzarne
The Rabbinical Assembly
Reconstructing Judaism
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
SAJ: Judaism that Stands for All
Dr. Donna Schaper, Senior Minister, Judson Memorial Church*
Reverend Osagyefo Sekou
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
The Shalom Center
Reverend Al Sharpton
State Innovation Exchange (SiX)
Texas Association for Bilingual Education (TABE)
T'ruah: Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
UndocuBlack Network
United Federation of Teachers (UFT)
United States Hispanic Leadership Institute
United We Dream Action
Uri L’Tzedek: The Orthodox Social Justice Movement
Voto Latino
Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Founder and Director of The Shalom Center*
Rabbi Elyse Wechterman
The Workmen's Circle
Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz
(List in formation)

*Organization provided for identification purposes only