António Guterres, the new secretary-general of the United Nations, publicly called on the U.S. government yesterday to scrap U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending entry for refugees and citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries. A group of special rapporteurs at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees also released a statement, addressing the illegality of the president’s executive order, which places a 90-day block on entry to the U.S. for refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations. “Such an order is clearly discriminatory based on one's nationality and leads to increased stigmatization of Muslim communities,” said the human rights experts at the global body.
In fact, the U.S. has been a global leader in promoting human rights and has played a critical role in improving human rights around the world. The U.S. Department of State, for example, publishes annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and criticizes countries where human rights are abused. Earlier this year, the department blacklisted Kim Yo Jung, vice director of the Workers’ Party of Korea’s Propaganda and Agitation Department, as one of the individuals responsible for serious human rights abuses in North Korea, in addition to the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un. Washington has also often mentioned China’s poor human rights records. Given these examples, it is ironic that the U.S. is now being criticized for violating the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by the international community.
The Trump administration should humbly accept this global criticism — world leaders have raised their voices and denounced his executive order. The Vatican expressed its concerns with the president’s executive order yesterday. "We are builders of bridges, far less of walls,” the Vatican's deputy secretary of state, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, told an Italian Catholic television channel. He added, “Pope Francis, in fact, insists on the ability to integrate those who arrive in our societies and cultures.” U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, too, clearly stated her opposition to Trump’s executive order, saying, “I have made very clear, very clear that we believe that this policy is divisive and wrong.”
The resistance to Trump’s immigration ban in the U.S., too, has reached a serious phase. For instance, a federal judge in Los Angeles issued an emergency order to temporarily halt Trump’s executive order and forbid government officials from suspending entry for refugees and citizens from seven countries with Muslim-majority populations. The voice of conscience is growing even stronger: The American Council on Education, an organization representing nearly 1,800 college and university presidents, presented its members’ concerns to the secretary of Homeland Security, and seven university hospitals, including Johns Hopkins Medicine, added their voices to the many already criticizing the contents of Trump administration’s visa ban, calling the ban “a step backward.”
President Trump should reconsider his executive order, which is causing severe conflicts in not only his country but in the international community as well. His travel ban has, in effect, already blocked entry to the U.S. for 50,000 Syrian refugees and left 26,000 Somalian refugees stuck in Kenya. It is un-American to leave those in danger in limbo – they can neither enter the U.S. nor do they have any place to go.