'The United Nations has issued a damning condemnation of Donald Trump's policy that saw migrant children separated from their parents at the border, suggesting it "may amount to torture".
In a statement issued by the UN's Human Rights Council, experts said the president's recent executive order, ostensibly to halt the controversial separations, failed to resolve the problem and "may lead to indefinite detention of entire families in violation of international human rights standards".
“This executive order does not address the situation of those children who have already been pulled away from their parents. We call on the government of the US to release these children from immigration detention and to reunite them with their families based on the best interests of the child, and the rights of the child to liberty and family unity,” the group of 11 experts said.
“Detention of children is punitive, severely hampers their development, and in some cases may amount to torture,” the experts said. “Children are being used as a deterrent to irregular migration, which is unacceptable.”
A number of rights groups have questioned Mr Trump's order, issued on Wednesday, mostly for offering few details on how to deal with the more than 2,300 children detained by the US government since the "zero tolerance" policy was enacted by the president's administration in mid-April.'
That zero tolerance policy means all adults who cross the border illegally are to be prosecuted, even those who make credible fear claims to seek asylum. The government has taken any children of individuals facing prosecution into their care while cases are processed. Mr Trump's executive order sought to end that separation, but did not indicate that adults seeking asylum would not continue to be prosecuted.
Mr Trump said on Thursday that he had ordered authorities to begin the process of re-uniting children with their parents, and the Justice Department asked a federal court for dispensation to hold children longer than the 20 days currently allowed - in order to help reunite families.'
Read more: UN says Trump separation of migrant children with parents 'may amount to torture', in damning condemnation
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