Between the US travel ban and the UK's halting of implementation of the “Dubs Amendment”
The Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development – ARDD is alarmed by recent developments worldwide jeopardizing the rights of most vulnerable refugees. Specifically, we are alarmed by political decisions such as the January 27th executive order by President of the United States banning access to migrants and refugees from seven Muslim majority countries, along with UK’s decision to stop implementing the “Dubs Amendment” to the immigration Act 2016 (as of Feb 8, 2017) by which a specified number of unaccompanied refugee children currently under very strenous circumstances could have been brought to safe to the UK. These decisions not only disregard commitments and responsibilities vis-à-vis international humanitarian law, but also seriously threaten the most vulnerable refugees who are fleeing war and conflict, and who may be torn apart further or prevented from being reunited.
Over the years, our organization has worked with refugees from different nationalities in Jordan. Despite difference in size, capacity and wealth, the country currently hosts nearly 72 times more Syrian refugees than the United States, and nearly 260 times more than the UK. While ARDD understands the challenges that come with the influx of refugees into host countries, we are deeply concerned by the risks posed by illegal migration. In February 2015 ARDD launched its protection campaign “Don’t Go: Protect, Inform, Act!” with the purpose to inform refugees and migrants of their rights and dangers to life and well-being of illegal migration bears, while urging the international community to find solutions to the crises leading to mass displacement that affects the Middle East and North Africa.
ARDD urges the international community to strongly oppose this concerning trend of political decisions and to step up to adequately respond to the consequences of war and displacement by abiding to international commitments and humanitarian values, while maintaining, and if possible, increasing their support to UNHCR and its partners. While criticism of the US travel ban and its temporary halt by the American judiciary are important steps in the right direction, they are unfortunately not enough. Political decisions such as those of the UK and USA, further pose a direct threat to the fragile stability in countries of first refuge, such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, while at the same time spreading of more hostility against refugees worldwide
Finally, as a legal aid organisation ARDD is deeply inspired by the brave response of the many lawyers, judges, law firms and volunteers who took to the airports in the US to support the stranded passengers and refugees and used their legal skills to help those who are most vulnerable, as well as the civil society and legal organizations and volunteers working to protect refugee children stranded in France and elsewhere in Europe. We congratulate them in solidarity for their courage and unwavering commitment to human rights and the rule of law which are paramount for maintaining justice.