The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice is a community of scholars, educators, journalists, advocates, and students from more than twenty countries around the world, united by a commitment to apply our skills towards a more humane and just world. As part of New York University, the Center also belongs to a global academic community that thrives on diversity, international and inter-disciplinary collaboration, equality, and freedom of thought and expression.
On Friday, January 27, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump put those shared values at risk by issuing an Executive Order that halted the admission of all refugees and of immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries.
The Center strongly condemns this order as a violation of international and domestic laws that prohibit refoulement, discrimination, and torture and ill-treatment, and that guarantee freedoms of religion, belief, and movement, due process, and access to justice. In flouting human rights and constitutional laws and principles and stoking Islamophobia and xenophobia, the order causes great harm to Muslims and immigrants, while undermining the humanity and endangering the safety of all people, in the United States and abroad.
This order is only one in a series of harmful measures proposed by President Trump. Funding to organizations that even discuss abortion has already been blocked, thereby placing the health of hundreds of millions of women at risk. Major cuts to United States funding for and participation in the United Nations and other international bodies have been foreshadowed. And a study has been initiated with a view to United States withdrawal from various multilateral treaties, including human rights and environmental conventions.
This piece-by-piece dismantling of international protections that have taken decades to develop threatens the rights of people everywhere. Human rights laws and institutions are vital safeguards against violations of the rights and dignity of people and against the erosion of accountable, democratic governance. When checks and balances break down at the domestic level, international human rights bodies and universally recognized principles take on renewed importance.
The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice is committed to remaining a safe and welcoming home to people of all religions, nationalities, ethnicities, races, gender identities, and sexual orientations. We will continue to promote and protect human rights through collaborative research, inter-disciplinary scholarship, and evidence-based advocacy, and in the coming years, we will be focusing our efforts to address the impact of harmful United States policies–on communities within the United States, on world regions most directly affected, and on international human rights institutions.