FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE— March 6 2017
[NEW YORK] – Today, Donald Trump signed a revised executive order extending his racist and xenophobic campaign promise—ban refugees and immigrants from largely Muslim countries. This ban is accompanied by a halt in taking in refugees and increased vetting protocols that can be used as a pretext to surveil and profile those who enter the United States.
Mr. Trump’s 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 six 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 women to stay in situations that put them at risk.”
“The last travel ban, not only resulted in human suffering and heartbreaking scenes, but a logistical chaos as immigration officers had little to no guidance," says Stephanie Johanssen, GJC EU and UN Director. "The government has provided no evidence that this travel ban will increase national security and DHS has released memos stating that such bans make little sense and the problem in preventing terrorism does not lie in our vetting procedures. Much the opposite, by putting entire populations under general suspicion, Trump helps the divisive narrative of terrorist groups like ISIS who have reportedly called the older version a “blessed ban”. "
"This new ban, is not a “new ban” so we expect Courts to strike it down again in order to uphold the rule of law. Terrorism is a real threat but the Administration should focus on preventative measures that worked in the past instead of wasting valuable time by insisting on a harmful ban spurred by xenophobia.”
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. “This policy is not only immoral, it’s illegal.”
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