Trump’s travel ban can compound anguish of refugees: UNHCR

United Nations: US President Donald Trump’s new travel ban can “compound” the anguish of refugees fleeing deadly violence and persecution, the UN refugee agency has warned.

“The imperative remains to provide protection for people fleeing deadly violence and we are concerned that this decision, though temporary, may compound the anguish for those it affects,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi said in a statement.

Grandi’s statement follows the signing of the revised executive order yesterday by Trump that would, among other things, suspend the country’s refugee programme for 120 days.

It would also bar for 90-days travel to the US by citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

The new measure follows a similar order signed by Trump in January, which barred all nationals from seven Muslim- majority countries from entering the US for 90 days. Under that order, Syrian refugees were barred indefinitely.

In the wake of the new order, the UN refugee agency reiterated its readiness to engage constructively with the US administration to ensure all refugee programmes meet the highest standards for safety and security.

“Americans have long played a crucial role in promoting global stability while simultaneously exemplifying the highest humanitarian ideals, from support for refugee emergencies overseas, to welcoming some of the most vulnerable refugee families in the US to rebuild their lives in safety, freedom and dignity,” said UNHCR.

“This is the gold standard in refugee protection and a powerful model for all countries,” it said, adding that at a time of record-high levels of forced human displacement, “this kind of humane leadership is needed more than ever.”

He said the UN refugee office has long been a partner for the US in finding solutions to refugee problems, “and we look forward to continuing this partnership.”