Federal family separation policy amounts to ‘torture’

The U.S. government’s policy of separating migrant children from their families at the southern border is “cruel, inhuman,” and “rises to the level of torture,” according to a new academic article authored by a slate of doctors throughout the country.

The paper, published Tuesday in the medical journal Pediatrics, found that the controversial anti-immigration practice meets the UN’s three criteria to be defined as torture for children: It causes “severe pain and suffering,” it’s purposeful and it’s state-sponsored.

“Targeted physical and psychological abuse is inflicted on children,” the authors wrote, adding that the suffering is severe given their age and stage of development. “It is a purposeful strategy of the state to use children to reduce border crossings by their parents.”

The authors concluded their article with a call to action, asking that pediatricians, child health care professionals and child advocacy organizations to work together across disciplines, to stop the torture of children in the U.S. and around the world.

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