As U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley prepares to travel to Jordan and Turkey, Human Rights First today called on Ambassador Haley to prioritize not only U.S. humanitarian assistance for refugees fleeing violence in Syria but also other key elements of a comprehensive response to the global refugee crisis, including U.S. resettlement initiatives, a fully funded assistance and diplomatic budget, development investment in host countries, and respect for the human rights of refugees. Ambassador Haley is scheduled to visit Turkey and Jordan on May 19-25 to learn about the situation facing Syrian refugees in these countries and witness the impact of United Nations and United States humanitarian assistance.
“Following President Trump’s diplomatically damaging efforts to ban Syrian refugees, Ambassador Haley will have the opportunity to see the impact of U.S. policies and rhetoric first hand, and to send a fresh message of support to the countries that host the overwhelming majority of Syrian refugees,” said Human Rights First’s Eleanor Acer. “Ambassador Haley will see how humanitarian aid alone is not sufficient for addressing this global crisis. We urge her to use this trip to reset the Trump Administration's approach to the Syrian refugee crisis, recognizing that U.S. leadership demands a comprehensive initiative that should include increased aid as well as development investments, protection of refugees' human rights, and a meaningful increase in U.S. refugee resettlement."
The number of Syrian refugees resettled to the United States has fallen sharply under President Trump, dropping 71% in the months following his inauguration—from 5,422 in the four month period between September 19, 2016 and January 19, 2017 to 1,566 during the comparable period between January, 20 2017 and May 18, 2017. Just days after his inauguration, President Trump issued an executive order that sought to indefinitely suspend the resettlement of Syrian refugees. While that order, and a subsequent version that also sought to suspend refugee resettlement, have been enjoined by U.S. federal courts for now, the number of Syrian refugees resettled to the United States continues to remain alarmingly low given the scale of the refugee crisis.
While visiting Jordan and Turkey, Ambassador Haley will have the opportunity to review U.S. programs and should take the opportunity to learn about the strength of U.S. refugee resettlement vetting. Former U.S. national security officials and former military leaders, who have served both Democratic and Republican administrations, have confirmed—again and again—that refugees are rigorously vetted and that resettling refugees is not only consistent with American ideals; it also advances U.S. national security interests. In a June 2016 Statement of Principles on America’s Commitment to Refugees, a bipartisan group of former national security officials stressed that, “Accepting refugees, and encouraging other countries to do so, advances U.S. interests by supporting the stability of our allies struggling to host large numbers on their own.”
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Sep 26, 2020