Action Against Hunger Condemns Executive Order Halting Admission of Refugees

Decision slams the door on vulnerable women and children devastated by extreme violence and persecution
Photo: Florian Seriex for Action Against Hunger, Garmawa refugee camp, Iraqi Kurdistan
Photo: Florian Seriex for Action Against Hunger, Garmawa refugee camp, Iraqi Kurdistan

(NEW YORK) January 31, 2017 —The international humanitarian organization Action Against Hunger strongly denounces the Trump Administration’s Executive Order halting admission of refugees to the United States. Action Against Hunger implores President Trump to uphold the United States’ commitments to international human rights law and to the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, to which the United States is a signatory. Downsizing the U.S. refugee resettlement program—and turning away victims of the world’s most brutal wars and campaigns of persecution—will abandon women, children, and families to grave danger and suffering.

The Executive Order halts admission of refugees from all countries for 120 days, with the exception of Syrian refugees, who are indefinitely banned. Action Against Hunger is operational in most of the countries from which refugees are being resettled. Every day, we see firsthand evidence of the inhumane suffering Syrian refugees endure escaping war, and of the threats to civilians’ lives amidst violence in places like Somalia and Iraq.  Action Against Hunger supports refugee populations around the world, and we are deeply concerned about the impact the ban will have on refugee communities within other countries as well as on the host governments who are generously providing them with asylum. Host governments in countries like Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Uganda have opened their borders to refugees, often straining their own capacity to the point of breaking. Providing asylum to refugees enables the U.S. government—which has a long and admirable bipartisan history of supporting refugee resettlement—to uphold its commitment to humanity and carry its fair share of the burden. 

The U.S. already conducts the world’s most rigorous screening process to vet refugees before granting them asylum, which can take between 18 and 24 months, sometimes longer, to complete. The refugees who have been selected for resettlement in the U.S.— but will now be denied protection—are women, children, and families who have survived unimaginable atrocities and persecution. Denying them refuge now is inhumane.

Action Against Hunger USA Chief Executive Andrea Tamburini said, “We are particularly concerned about the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees, which violates the United States' international commitments. The U.S. is obligated, as a signatory to the Refugee Convention, to enforce and supervise its application to the full extent, not to weaken and narrow its application to certain nationalities, races, religions or social/political positions."

In recent years, in the face of unprecedented human suffering and crises around the world, the United States has been a global leader in offering legal and physical protection and asylum to victims of war and persecution, while at the same time conducting the most thorough vetting process in the world. Action Against Hunger urges the United States to maintain its global leadership in protecting refugees, and to focus its diplomatic efforts on resolution of conflicts, as well as generously funding responses to humanitarian crises, all of which will contribute greatly to global safety, stability, and protection.

ABOUT ACTION AGAINST HUNGER
Action Against Hunger is a global humanitarian organization that takes decisive action against the causes and effects of hunger. We save the lives of malnourished children. We ensure families can access clean water, food, training, and health care. We enable entire communities to be free from hunger. With more than 6,500 staff in over 45 countries, our programs reached 14.9 million people in 2015.

Press Contact: 
Elizabeth Wright
ewright@actionagainsthunger.org
 

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Action Against Hunger is a global humanitarian organization that takes decisive action against the causes and effects of hunger. We save the lives of malnourished children. We ensure families can access clean water, food, training, and health care. We enable entire communities to be free from hunger.