FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE— January 27 2017
[NEW YORK] – Today, Donald Trump followed through on one of his racist and xenophobic campaign promise—ban refugees and immigrants from largely Muslim countries. This ban is accompanied by a drastic reduction in the number of refugees the US will take and a series of other undefined and vague provisions that could be used as a pretext to surveil and profile those who enter the United States.
Mr. Trump’s blanket ban on refugees and immigrants will force already vulnerable populations, including women, children, LGBTQ and individuals with disabilities, to remain in situations of peril. All but one of the seven countries specified in the Executive Order—Iran—were cited in the most recent report of the UN Secretary-General on conflict-related sexual violence, as countries where women and girls were being targeted for sexual violence.
“The US has made great strides in recognizing that women fleeing sexual and gender-based violence and persecution can claim asylum,” says GJC Vice President and Legal Director, Akila Radhakrishnan, “many of these countries are conflict countries where sexual violence has characterized the conflicts. By denying refugee status, we are forcing these women to stay in situations that put them at risk.”
“Furthermore,” she continues, “the United States already takes in less than a tremendous amount of refugees. Mr. Trump’s plans to further reduce those numbers are deeply concerning. In just 2015, Germany took in more refugees than the United States has since 2005. By slashing total refugee admissions in 2017 the US will not only become even further out of step to its allies, but we will be shirking our obligations to the international community."
The implementation of this executive order could also put the United States in violation of its international obligations under the the Refugee Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention against Torture, the Responsibility to Protect and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. “For example, under the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect, the international community has a duty to protect those whose own governments are failing to protect them from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity,” says Radhakrishnan. “By indefinitely suspending the admission of refugees from Syria, the US will be failing to protect those fleeing ISIS and Assad from those crimes. This policy is not only immoral, it’s illegal.”
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