Nobel winner Malala Yousafzai slams Trump’s child separation policy

"Cruel" is how Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai described 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.

Mr Trump stopped separating families last month following public outrage and court challenges.

"This is cruel, this is unfair and this is inhumane. I do not know how anyone could do that," Ms Yousafzai told Reuters on Wednesday.

"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 in Davos this year, Ms Yousafzai also questioned Mr Trump's record on women's rights.

Ms 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.

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 such as literacy and secondary school completion.

"It is important for us to reach the indigenous and the Afro-Brazilian population in Brazil. Those girls are facing many challenges," Ms Yousafzai said in an interview. - REUTERS