Posted: July 3, 2017
Written by: Jacqueline Murekatete
The recent decision by the United States Supreme Court to allow parts of President Trump’s travel ban to go into effect is a big setback for those of us deeply concerned about ensuring basic human rights for all people, including refugees.
With an exception to people who have “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States”, the Supreme Court’s decision effectively denies entry to legitimate refugees from the six majority Muslim countries affected by the travel ban including refugees from Syria, where mass atrocity crimes are currently being committed.
We at the Genocide Survivors Foundation (GSF) believe that every country including the United States has the right and indeed the obligation to protect its boarders and its citizens from terrorists or others wishing to do harm. But as organization that fights discrimination and advocates for victims of genocide and mass atrocity crimes, GSF also believes that any order or ruling that bans all people, including refugees, from certain countries (in this case the six predominantly Muslim countries) from entering the U.S, is discriminatory in nature, a violation of refugee rights, and should not stand under the United States constitution.
At the end of the day, legitimate refugees must and can be distinguished from those seeking to take advantage of the current refugee crisis, and legitimate refugees should be treated as such, not dismissed as potential terrorists simply because of their religion or country of origin.
The good news is that the United States already has one of the most rigorous refugee vetting system in the world, taking many months and requiring a lot of background checks before anyone is allowed to enter the country on a refugee status. Of course, as with any system, there is always room for improvement and the United States must continue to work hard to make sure that terrorists or others wishing to do harm will not be mistakenly granted entry into the country. But as we work hard to protect Americans from terrorism, we must also do so with American values in mind, including values of fairness, non-discrimination and freedom of religion.
It is therefore our hope that when the U.S Supreme Court hears arguments on President’s Trump’s travel ban this October, the court’s decision will be favorable to legitimate refugees, irrespective of their religion or country of origin.« Back to News + Blog