More than 100,000 children are currently being held in migration-related detention in the United States, including those held with their parents and minors detained alone, the UN said Monday.
"The total number currently detained is 103,000," said Manfred Nowak, lead author of the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty.
Nowak told AFP the figure was a "conservative" assessment, based on the latest available official data as well as "very reliable" additional sources.
Globally, at least 330,000 children across 80 countries are being held for migration-related reasons, according to the global study that launched Monday, meaning the US accounts for nearly a third of such detentions.
"Migration-related detention for children can never be considered... in the best interest of the child. There are always alternatives available," Nowak told reporters in Geneva.
He explained that the 103,000 figure refers to children who arrived at a US border unaccompanied, as well as those detained with relatives and those separated from their parents prior to detention.
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