UN experts call US travel ban ‘significant setback’ for those needing international protection


UNITED NATIONS, Feb 1 (APP): Expressing concern that a new executive order by United States President Donald Trump is in breach of the country’s human rights commitments, a group of United Nations rights experts have called on the US to live up to its human rights obligations and provide protection for those fleeing persecution and conflicts.
“Such an order is clearly discriminatory based on one’s nationality
and leads to increased stigmatization of Muslim communities,” the UN
Special Rapporteurs on migrants, Francois Crepeau; on racism, Mutuma Ruteere; on human rights and counter terrorism, Ben Emmerson; on
torture, Nils Melzer; and on freedom of religion, Ahmed Shaheed, said
in a statement issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for
Human Rights (OHCHR).
“The US recent policy on immigration also risks people being
returned, without proper individual assessments and asylum procedures,
to places in which they risk being subjected to torture and other
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, in direct contravention of international humanitarian and human rights laws which uphold the
principle of non refoulement,” they warned.
The executive order, signed by President Trump on January 27,
bars all nationals from seven Muslim majority countries Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the US for the next 90 days.
It also stops the entire US refugee programme for 120 days,
indefinitely bans Syrian refugees, and halts the planned entry of more than 50,000 refugees in the US fiscal year 2017, which began in October 2016 and will end in September 2017, according to the news release.
Noting that “in the midst of the world’s greatest migration crisis
since World War II, this is a significant setback for those who are obviously in need of international protection,” the rights experts
stressed: “The US must live up to its international obligations and provide protection for those fleeing persecution and conflicts.”
“The US is also involved in conflicts such as those in Iraq and
Syria and its responsibility must extend to offering refuge to those
fleeing from the conflicts,” they added.
According to the news release, the executive order also applies to
those who come from the countries listed whether or not they have valid visa documents or are in transit.
It also affects those who have dual nationality, who either have a passport from one of those countries or are travelling from one of
those countries. Furthermore, those currently residing in the US may be able to fly to the US but entry is not guaranteed.
“This is deeply troubling, and we are additionally concerned that
such persons travelling to the US will be subject to detention for an undefined period of time and then ultimately deported,” the human
rights experts said.