adding my voice to the hue and cry: crimes against humanity – convention on the rights of a child

I am not an attorney. I am not a politician. I am not a renowned author. I am, however, a concerned American citizen who happens to be a blogger with a voice that today adds to the hue and cry already surrounding an administration that has lost its way in serving the best interests of the American people and our democracy. I would like to add a case to the numerous litigations currently being filed against our leaders for Crimes against Humanity and for compromising our ratification of  the Convention on the Rights of a Child.

I am naming in my case the following people: President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General Jeff Sessions,  Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckebee Sanders, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, Secretary of Veteran Affairs David Shulkin, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

Convention on the Rights of the Child Adopted by the United Nations and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989
entry into force 2 September 1990, in accordance with article 49 (ratified by the United States in 1990)

Excerpts from the convention:

Article 9

  1. States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child. Such determination may be necessary in a particular case such as one involving abuse or neglect of the child by the parents, or one where the parents are living separately and a decision must be made as to the child’s place of residence.
  2. In any proceedings pursuant to paragraph 1 of the present article, all interested parties shall be given an opportunity to participate in the proceedings and make their views known.
  3. States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child’s best interests.
  4. Where such separation results from any action initiated by a State Party, such as the detention, imprisonment, exile, deportation or death (including death arising from any cause while the person is in the custody of the State) of one or both parents or of the child, that State Party shall, upon request, provide the parents, the child or, if appropriate, another member of the family with the essential information concerning the whereabouts of the absent member(s) of the family unless the provision of the information would be detrimental to the well-being of the child. States Parties shall further ensure that the submission of such a request shall of itself entail no adverse consequences for the person(s) concerned.

Article 10

  1. In accordance with the obligation of States Parties under article 9, paragraph 1, applications by a child or his or her parents to enter or leave a State Party for the purpose of family reunification shall be dealt with by States Parties in a positive, humane and expeditious manner. States Parties shall further ensure that the submission of such a request shall entail no adverse consequences for the applicants and for the members of their family.
  2. A child whose parents reside in different States shall have the right to maintain on a regular basis, save in exceptional circumstances personal relations and direct contacts with both parents. Towards that end and in accordance with the obligation of States Parties under article 9, paragraph 1, States Parties shall respect the right of the child and his or her parents to leave any country, including their own, and to enter their own country. The right to leave any country shall be subject only to such restrictions as are prescribed by law and which are necessary to protect the national security, public order (ordre public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Convention

Additionally, in 2002 an International Criminal Court was established in the Hague in the Netherlands. The Rome Statute provides for the ICC to have jurisdiction of crimes against humanity.

Article 7 of the Rome Statute states crimes against humanity means any of a number of things including “deportation or forcible transfer of population …intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health…as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population with knowledge of the attack…whatever their status all migrants are entitled to have their human rights protected…because their own government cannot or will not protect them, they are forced to seek international protection.”

To repeat, I am not an attorney, but I can read the codes of conduct my country has agreed to over the years. The recent forcible separation of more than 3,000 children from their migrant families seems to me to be a crime against humanity and especially criminal acts toward children. I would like to see everyone involved, either by taking action to create and enforce such a policy or serving as an accomplice to such crimes by not resigning from their positions in protest of these heinous acts, be indicted by the International Criminal Court.

This is the best I can do with my voice. Perhaps some of my readers will have their consciousness raised as to the seriousness of wrong actions against defenseless children with no intention of reuniting them with their families in an expeditious manner. I personally find this policy created and implemented by my own government to be reprehensible and if I choose to say nothing, I am equally complicit.

In the midst of the daily dramas and chaos that characterize this administration, I cannot forget the children who are being unfairly detained today in Texas camps and prisons…every day, every night. Migrants Matter.

Stay tuned.




About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, racism, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to adding my voice to the hue and cry: crimes against humanity – convention on the rights of a child

  1. Wayside Artist says:

    I need to turn the heat up again on my one worthless Republican representative and my one stunningly shiftless, feckless Republican Senator. One responds with a list of weak achievements and the other not at all. I will not be tarred as uncaring because of their intransigence. What despicable times!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wayside Artist says:

    I know you know this Sheila – they’re in power, hold all the cards, and know it’s an uphill battle for Democrats. But that doesn’t excuse their categorically spineless, disgusting behavior. I’m beginning to believe they all have links to Russia and criminal relationships with the NRA and other lobbyists. They, the party of family values, have no morals, no scruples, no integrity, yet feel emboldened to lecture the rest of us on how to deal with human rights. It’s insane.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bob Slatten says:

    Resist. Stand. Speak. Vote.
    We can make this change.
    We will make this change.

    Liked by 2 people

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