Saturday, 25 March 2017

UN rights chief decries US immigration policies

UN HR

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations human rights chief has warned that US President Donald Trump’s immigration policies could lead to collective expulsions of migrants that would amount to a breach of international law. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said on March 8 that he was also concerned about the new US policy banning entry of people from six Muslim-majority countries for 90 days, announced on March 6 after Trump’s initial executive order on immigration was blocked in the courts. In an annual speech to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Zeid said the policy would greatly increase the number of migrants at immediate risk of deportation, regardless of the number of years spent in the United States or family roots. “Expedited deportations could amount to collective expulsions and refoulement, in breach of international law, if undertaken without due process guarantees, including individual assessment,” Zeid said, referring to the UN Refugee Convention, which prohibits the forcible return of people who are fleeing war, violence, or persecution. He said that greater leadership was needed to tackle rising discrimination, anti-Semitism, and violence against ethnic and religious minorities in the United States. Zeid added that was particularly concerned about the impact of children “who face being detained, or may see their families torn apart.”

“Vilification of entire groups such as Mexicans and Muslims, and false claims that migrants commit more crimes than US citizens, are harmful and fuel xenophobic abuses,” Zeid said. The UN human rights chief also said he was “dismayed” by what he said were Trump’s attempts to “intimidate or undermine” journalists and judges. Zeid also condemned what he said were Trump’s attempts to “intimidate or undermine journalists and judges.” Trump built a base of support behind his presidential campaign by vowing to fight illegal immigration and prevent Muslims from entering the country. Building a wall on the US-Mexico border to stop the influx of refugees and undocumented migrants coming from Central and Latin America was a hallmark of Trump’s presidential campaign. Since his inauguration, Trump has faced nearly non-stop protests and rallies condemning his divisive rhetoric and controversial immigration policy. Trump’s first month in office was dominated by a battle over his temporary travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries and harsh personal criticism of federal judges who blocked his immigration order.

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