By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Human Rights Minister for Brazil, Gustavo Rocha, travelled to the United States on Saturday (July 14th) on an official mission to assess what is being done to reunite the nearly fifty Brazilian minors with their parents.
The children were separated by U.S. authorities when the families were trying to enter the country illegally and despite an order on June 20th to reunite parents with their children by July 26th, the majority of Brazilian minors remain in U.S. shelters, with only a few being released into their parents’ custody.
“We have to respect the laws of the countries. We understand that each country has its own specific legislation. But we can not accept that such legislation violates basic human rights, such as family reunification. Our concern is to ensure that human rights are fully guaranteed,” Minister Rocha was quoted as saying by government-run news agency, Agencia Brasil, before leaving on the fact-finding mission.
Until the end of the week the Brazilian authorities visit New York, Washington, and Boston, and will have meetings with multilateral agencies and civil society organizations working to protect immigrants. The Brazilian delegation is also expected to visit shelters where some of these youngsters are believed to be held.
And although the Brazilian government criticized the measure as ‘a cruel practice and in clear disagreement with international instruments for the protection of children’s rights’, Foreign Relations Minister, Aloysio Nunes, said earlier this month during a visit to U.S. shelters that the children are being well taken care of and most do not want to come back to Brazil after reuniting with their parents.