UN agencies urge Trump to allow refugees entry

The United Nations refugee agency and International Organisation for Migration (IOM) called on Trump’s administration on Saturday to continue offering asylum to people fleeing war and persecution.

On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump put a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the United States and temporarily barred travelers from Syria and six other Muslim-majority countries

It is said that the moves would help protect Americans from terrorist attacks.

“The needs of refugees and migrants worldwide have never been greater and the U.S. resettlement program is one of the most important in the world,” the two Geneva-based agencies said in a joint statement.

Trump stopped the entry of travelers from Syria and the six other nations – Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen for at least 90 days.

Trump’s administration needed time to develop more stringent screening processes for refugees, immigrants and visitors.

OM and UNHCR said that they remained committed to work with U.S. administration towards a shared goal of ensuring safe and secure resettlement as well as immigration programmes.

“We strongly believe that refugees should receive equal treatment for protection and assistance- and opportunities for resettlement, regardless of their religion, nationality or race,” they said.

Agencies said that the esettlement places provided by every country for vulnerable refugees, some of whom require special medical treatment not available in their first country of asylum.

More than 30 countries participate in the programme, which starts with vetting by the UNHCR.

The agencies hoped that the U.S. will continue its strong leadership role and long tradition of protecting those who are fleeing conflict and persecution.

Some 25,000 refugees were resettled in U.S. between October and the end of the year under UNHCR’s programme for the most vulnerable, the agency also said.

A host of U.S. federal government agencies are involved and extensive background checks are carried out, UNHCR spokeswoman Vannina Maestracci told a briefing.

“I think it’s fair to say that refugees coming into the United States to be resettled are some of the most vetted individuals entering the United States,” she said.

Source: Reuters