By Rakesh Raman
A number of United Nations (UN) human rights and refugee welfare agencies have expressed their anguish over President Donald Trump’s arbitrary decision to ban the entry of people from certain Muslim countries.
The agencies – including UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and IOM, the International Organization for Migration – hope that the U.S. will continue its strong leadership role and long tradition of protecting those who are fleeing conflict and persecution.
Earlier, disturbed by the divisive nature of the U.S. presidential campaign, the former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had said that America must respect unity in diversity.
Similarly, human rights organization Amnesty International had suggested that Trump must publicly commit to upholding the human rights of all without discrimination.
“Trump has provoked grave consternation at many points throughout his election campaign. He must now put this behind him and both reaffirm and abide by the United States’ obligations on human rights, at home and abroad,” Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International had said.
In a joint statement issued Saturday, the UN agencies said they strongly believe that refugees should receive equal treatment for protection and assistance, and opportunities for resettlement, regardless of their religion, nationality, or race.
They were referring to an executive order that President Trump had signed last Friday to suspend resettlement of Syrian refugees indefinitely and all other refugee resettlement for 120 days.
The order also banned the entry of nationals from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen for 90 days. All seven countries are predominately Muslim countries.
Meanwhile, a Federal District Court Judge Ann M. Donnelly issued a stay Saturday, blocking Trump’s discriminatory policy from taking effect and preventing refugees and immigrants from being deported.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Judge did not rule on the constitutionality of the order, but for now, the men and women who would have been deported are safe.
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