Scottish Liberal Democrat MEP Sheila Ritchie will make her debut speech in the European Parliament as she leads a debate on the situation at the USA-Mexican border on Thursday 18th July.

Ms Ritchie’s motion calls for the relevant authorities in the US to guarantee immediately that all detainees have access to basic rights, such as water, food, health and shelter, urges the authorities to immediately find non-custodial alternatives for migrants and refugee children and adults and urges the government of the USA to start reuniting separated families.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Ms Ritchie said:

“The United States taught the world that Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness are unalienable rights. These concentration camps fall far short of those lofty ideals. The US Government should end these cruel policies and begin to unite families once more.
“Being a part of a strong Europe allows us to speak out and stand up against human rights abuses across the world.
“While Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage cosy up to the Trump administration, Liberal Democrats will continue to speak out in defence of human rights around the world.”

Notes

The motion tabled by Sheila Ritchie MEP on behalf of the Renew Europe group is as follows:

European Parliament resolution on the situation at the USA-Mexican border

The European Parliament

  • having regard to its previous resolutions and recommendations on the United States of America,
  • having regard to the statement of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on 5 July 2019,
  • having regard to the statements made by members of US congress after visiting detention centres in July 2019,
  • having regard to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951 Convention) and the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1967,
  • having regard to the statements made by the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the Society for Research in Child Development on child separation,
  • having regard to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on 1989,
  • having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,
  • having regard to the terms of the United States Declaration of Independence,
  • having regard to Rules 144 of its Rules of Procedure
  1. Whereas the United States of America and the EU are great friends and allies; Whereas both the USA and the EU consider human rights an inalienable fundamental right inherent in all human beings;
  2. Whereas the USA has adopted strict measures against migrants and refugees crossing the border into the USA in pursuit life, liberty and happiness;
  3. Whereas children crossing the border illegally into the United States are being separated from their families and locked up in detention centres; whereas thousands of children have been separated from their families; whereas due to poor record keeping, the authorities are not able to provide an exact number of children who are currently separated from their families; whereas many of these children are under the age of five years old;
  4. whereas the authorities have indicated that it could take up to two years for the government to identify and reunite thousands of families separated at the border;
  5. Whereas children are being held in detention centres for long periods of time under appalling conditions
  6. whereas children are forced to sleep on the floor in overcrowded detention centres without access to adequate healthcare or food and with poor sanitation conditions; whereas there are serious accusations of sexual abuse by border officers against the detained children;
  7. whereas detaining migrant and refugee children constitutes cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment and is prohibited under international law;
  8. whereas there are clear indications that the family separation and appalling detention is leading to long-term trauma for children and adults alike;
  9. whereas 195 parties have signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; whereas the United States is the only Member of the United Nations that has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child;
  10. Whereas adult migrants and refugees are being detained under similarly appalling conditions
  1. Is deeply concerned with the situation in the detention centres in the USA;
  2. calls on the relevant authorities in the US to guarantee immediately that all detainees have access to basic rights, such as water, food, health and shelter;
  3. Urges the authorities to immediately find non-custodial alternatives for migrants and refugee children and adults;
  4. Emphasises that family separation or immigration detention are never in the best interest of a child;
  5. Calls on the government of the USA to end the separation of families;
  6. Urges the government of the USA to start reuniting the families and guarantee that this will have the highest priority;
  7. Encourages the USA, as the last Member of the United Nations not to have done so, to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child;
  8. Acknowledges that Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness are unalienable rights given to all humans and reminds the US that it first taught the world that;
  9. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Government of the United States of America;

 

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