Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai on Wednesday slammed the Trump administration’s policy of forcibly separating immigrant children from their families at the border, calling the tactic “inhumane.”
“This is cruel, this is unfair and this is inhumane. I don’t know how anyone could do that,” Yousafzai told Reuters from Brazil during a trip to South America to promote girls’ education.
“I hope that the children can be together with their parents,” she added.
Initially, President Donald Trump defended his “zero tolerance” policy, claiming there were no alternatives to criminally prosecuting parents who crossed the border from Mexico illegally. The policy resulted in the separation of more than 2,000 children between April and May.
But amid rising public outrage and a running tab of court challenges, Trump reportedly stopped separating families last month.
Toward the end of June, a federal court ordered the administration to reunite every family that had been separated at the border within 30 days, with a shorter, 14-day deadline for children under age five. But this week, the government fell short of the deadline, with many children remaining in holding facilities far away from their relatives.
Yousafzai, a global advocate of girls’ education, last year praised Canada for welcoming refugees.
Her remarks on Trump’s family separation policy were made during her first visit to South America to kickstart the expansion of her education charity, the Malala Fund, into Latin America, Reuters reports.
Yousafzai, 21, became the world’s youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2014, recognized for her education advocacy. In 2012, she survived being shot in the head by a Taliban gunman.