Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has warned that refugees were not criminals and should not be treated as such.
This came as a reaction to the travel ban by U.S. President, Donald Trump.
Grandi who said that the decision would worsen the woes of refugees around the World, also reminded Trump that the U.S have long played a crucial role in promoting global stability while simultaneously exemplifying the highest humanitarian ideals
“Refugees are ordinary people forced to flee war, violence and persecution in their home countries and who remain in urgent need of life-saving assistance and protection.
“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.
“The UNHCR has long been a partner for the U.S. in finding solutions to refugee problems, and we look forward to continuing this partnership,” he said.
In the wake of the new order, the head of the UN refugee agency reiterated its readiness to engage constructively with Trump’s orders 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 United States to rebuild their lives in safety, freedom and dignity.
“This is the gold standard in refugee protection and a powerful model for all countries that at a time of record-high levels of forced human displacement, this kind of humane leadership is needed more than ever.”
Grandi’s statement followed the signing of the Executive Order that would, among other things, suspend the country’s refugee programme for 120 days.
However, under the old order, Syrian refugees were barred indefinitely.
It would also bar for 90 days, travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
The measure followed a similar order signed by Trump on Jan. 27, which barred all nationals from the countries, including Iraq.
However, Iraq was removed from the new order following what the U.S. Government said was the country’s cooperation in ensuring effective vetting of immigrants to the U.S.