RIO DE JANEIRO : Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai described as “cruel” a policy launched by US President Donald Trump to separate children of illegal immigrants from their families, during her first visit to South America to promote girls’ education.
More than 2,300 children were separated from their parents after the Trump administration began a “zero tolerance” policy on illegal immigrants in early May, seeking to prosecute all adults who cross the border illegally from Mexico into the US. Trump stopped separating families last month following public outrage and court challenges.
“This is cruel, this is unfair and this is inhumane. I don’t know how anyone could do that,” Yousafzai said. “I hope that the children can be together with their parents.”
Her stern words contrasted with her effusive praise last year for Canada’s embrace of refugees under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. At the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos this year, Malala also questioned Trump’s record on women’s rights.
Malala tweeted that she is ready to start her day in Salvador, Brazil! This week she will meet girls from around the country and hear their stories.
Yousafzai, known widely by her first name, was visiting Rio de Janeiro to kick off the expansion of her education charity, the Malala Fund, into Latin America, starting with Brazil.
Did we mention @Malala asked a few friends to join her in Brazil? ??
Her aim in Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, is to advocate for more public spending on education, a tall task after the country passed a constitutional amendment freezing federal spending in real terms for two decades in order to reduce public debt.
She also hopes to get an estimated 1.5 million girls currently not in school into the classroom, with a special focus on minority groups who lag white children on key indicators like literacy and secondary school completion.
Proud to announce we’re investing in girls’ education in Brazil. More than 1.5 million girls are out of school in this country – and they deserve the chance to choose their own future.
Malala Fund is bringing our fight for girls’ education to Brazil — where more than 1.5m girls are out of school due to poverty, racism and violence. And, indigenous and Afro-Brazilian girls miss out most.
“It is important for us to reach the indigenous and the Afro-Brazilian population in Brazil. Those girls are facing many challenges,” Malala said in an interview.