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Labor groups rally in Geneva against U.S. immigration policy
June 18,2019   By:Xinhua
GENEVA, June 18, 2019 -- Global labor leaders, civil society and students rallied Monday in Geneva to condemn the U.S. policy of migrant family separation on the country's southern border explaining why they laid a complaint before the UN Human Rights Council.
The president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Randi Weingarten, gathered dozens of global and U.S. human rights allies who had delivered a formal human rights complaint to the UN rights body which is to meet from June 24 to July 12.
She said that in the last 12 months, 2,500 children had been separated at the U.S.-Mexico border, despite a judge's orders to stop.
"After being torn from their parents, children are held in makeshift tents, or vans, in the desert. At least seven have died. This is our shame," said Weingarten, whose federation represents 1.7 million teachers and medical nurses in the United States.
Supporting the complaint at the rally was Public Services International (PSI), a global trade union federation representing 20 million women and men working in public services in 163 countries and regions, Education International and students from the International School of Geneva.
In an interview, Weingarten, whose grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Ukraine, said it was "very unusual" for the UN Human Rights Council to take action on a complaint brought against the United States "and the fact that they are considering it...is very big news".
At Monday's protest in Geneva, school children read passages from children of the move who have been separated from their parents.
Weingarten said, "We are soldiers in the fight for children's dignity, in the fight for children's well-being, and that is why we need to keep children with their families."
The union leader's speech coincided with the ongoing annual meeting of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on its 100th anniversary in Geneva.
She noted her group was speaking in "defense of the founding principles of our international order...in defense of our most defenseless".
"Today, in 2019, in a just and supposedly free America, migrant children are growing up in detention far from their family's arms. They are living in camps. They are suffering," said Weingarten.
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