Press Release: The Society of Black Lawyers (SBL), Association of Muslim Lawyers UK (AML) and the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) Condemns President Trump’s Extreme Vetting Order as a Form of Ethnic and Religious Profiling which Discriminates Against Muslim-Majority Countries

SBLAMLPALU

Three leading human rights organisations utterly and in no uncertain terms condemn the executive order signed by President Trump on Friday 29th January 2017, disturbingly and perhaps deliberately, International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“As organisations committed to upholding human rights and the international rule of law for all, we whole heartedly denounce the decision made to use extreme vetting techniques to segregate and stereotype individuals who originate from the countries that have been denied entry to the United States”.

The executive order has completely halted the United States refugee programme for 120 days and has banned Syrian refugees indefinitely from entering the country. Nationals from seven Muslim majority countries, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen

have also been suspended from entering the country for 90 days.

A ban on an individual’s entry into the United States on the basis of origin and religion is an affront to the United States’ constitution and breaches its own legal system, both based upon equal rights for all. The executive order directly targets Muslim-majority countries. Being Muslim may not be explicitly named as the basis of this grossly discriminatory vetting procedure and President Trump may fatuously deny it himself but it is highly disingenuous to deny that Islamophobia is the driving force underpinning this order.

The targeted and discriminatory nature of the policy is a fundamental challenge to the United States laws on religious discrimination. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution clearly states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Donald Deya, The Chief Executive of PALU commented: “At a time when the world is faced with monumental challenges of conflict, terrorism, trafficking (including of humans), climate change and democratic regression, we ought to prioritise collective and multi-lateral action that is based on principle and on international human rights law, and not ill-thought out, kneejerk reactions that violate our own Constitutions as well as international human rights law, and that play right into the hands and schemes of terrorists and demagogues.”

D Peter Herbert, Chair of the SBL commented: “This Presidential executive order is not only morally wrong but legally wrong as it flies in the face of the US Constitution and omits those countries whose nationals have attacked the US, such as Saudi Arabia. It is not intelligence led but on the contrary an ill-conceived action led by xenophobia, racism, religious bigotry, and fear that will deliver all terrorists a propaganda coup. The effects on ordinary law abiding nationals of the countries affected is a personal disaster that will irreparably damage America’s reputation as a so called liberal democracy”.

Ismet Rawat, the President of AML commented: “The deliberate and gratuitous targeting of millions of innocent Muslims is not only unlawful but, once again, demonstrates President Trump’s callous disregard for humanity and the fundamental rights of all citizens to travel freely. This plays straight into the hands of extremists on all sides and simply makes the world a more dangerous place, not least for US citizens themselves. The indefinite ban on refugees from Syria is a directly discriminatory act created to target, punish and revictimize millions of victims suffering from extreme persecution whilst callously treating them in the same manner as those extremists at whose hands they have and are continuing to suffer”

A number of US Judges have issued a temporary halt on the deportation of people who had already arrived in the United States with valid visas but were being denied entry at border control. Thousands have been protesting across the US and condemnation from across the world calling for more to be done. Protests are due this evening outside No 10 Downing Street (the home of the British Prime Minister).

We hereby call out the real premise of this executive order and categorically denounce it.

In addition, the AML and SBL urge individuals across the United Kingdom to sign the petition calling for President Trump's state visit to the UK to be cancelled:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/171928

They also encourage support of all lawful protest against these orders across the United Kingdom.

Click here to view the official statement.

For further information on the press release:

SBL :   D Peter Herbert O.B.E. : pherb5law@aol.com + 44 (0)7973 794946;

PALU : Donald Deya : secretariat@lawyersofafrica.org, +255 787 066 888

AML :   Ismet P. Rawat : ismet.rawat@gmail.com +78521 46056

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