US: UN agencies urge US to protect those fleeing conflict, persecution

New York, US (PANA) - The United Nations agencies dealing with global refugee and migration issues have expressed the hope that the United States will continue its strong leadership role and long tradition of protecting those who are fleeing conflict and persecution.

“The needs of refugees and migrants worldwide have never been greater, and the US resettlement programme is one of the most important in the world,” says a joint statement on Saturday from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The agencies note that the longstanding US policy of welcoming refugees has created a 'win-win' situation: it has saved the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in the world who have in turn enriched and strengthened their new societies.

“The contribution of refugees and migrants to their new homes worldwide has been overwhelmingly positive,” they add.

The statement from the agencies follows US President Donald Trump's signing on Friday of an Executive Order that, among things, suspends the US refugee programme for 120 days and bars entry of refugees from Syria, until further notice.

“Resettlement places provided by every country are vital. The UN refugee agency [and] the International Organization for Migration hope that the US will continue its strong leadership role and long tradition of protecting those who are fleeing conflict and persecution,” the agencies state, adding that they remain committed to working with the US Administration towards the goal they share to ensure safe and secure resettlement and immigration programmes.

UNHCR and the IOM expressed the strong belief that refugees should receive equal treatment for protection and assistance, and opportunities for resettlement, regardless of their religion, nationality or race.

“We will continue to engage actively and constructively with the US Government, as we have done for decades, to protect those who need it most, and to offer our support on asylum and migration matters,” the statement concluded.

Human rights group, Amnesty International, on its part on Saturday slammed President Trump's executive order restricting entry for nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries describing it as "callous and deeply misguided".

The order says Syrian refugees are banned from entry into the US until further notice.
In reaction to President Trump’s executive order to effectively prevent refugees from seeking resettlement in the USA, Salil Shetty, Secretary General at Amnesty International said:

“President Trump’s Executive Order effectively blocking those fleeing war and persecution from war-torn countries such as Syria, from seeking safe haven in the USA are an appalling move with potentially catastrophic consequences."

The executive order could mean that citizens from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya may not be allowed to board flights bound for the US.
-0- PANA MA 29Jan2017

29 january 2017 04:55:55

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