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UN hopes to see temporary U.S. refugee ban "lifted as soon as possible"

Editor: Wang Lingxiao 丨Xinhua

02-01-2017 11:26 BJT

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations on Tuesday said that the world body hopes to see that the temporary U.S. ban on the entry of refugees into the country "will be lifted as soon as possible."

"We hope it will be lifted as soon as possible," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here in response to a press question.

Thousands of protesters rallied in front of the White House in Washington D.C. on Sunday while demonstrations continued across more than 30 American airports after U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily barring all refugees and seven Mideast and North African countries' citizens from entering the United States.

Under the order, refugees from all over the world will be suspended U.S. entry for 120 days while all immigration from so-called "countries with terrorism concerns" will be suspended for 90 days. Countries included in the ban are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

Earlier Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, on his way back from Ethiopia which is the largest refugee holding country in Africa, issued a statement which said that any country's border control over refugee entry "cannot be based on any form of discrimination related to religion, ethnicity or nationality," Dujarric said.

While acknowledging that "countries have the right, even the obligation, to responsibly manage their borders to avoid infiltration by members of terrorist organizations," the UN chief made the statement because the ban "is gainst the fundamental principles and values on which our societies are based."

Meanwhile, the ban also "triggers widespread anxiety and anger that may facilitate the propaganda of the very terrorist organisations we all want to fight against," Guterres said in the statement read by Dujarric to reporters here.

"Blind measures, not based on solid intelligence, tend to be ineffective as they risk being bypassed by what are today sophisticated global terrorist movements," the statement said.

"I am also particularly concerned by the decisions that around the world have been undermining the integrity of the international refugee protection regime," Guterres said.

"Refugees fleeing conflict and persecution are finding more and more borders closed and increasingly restricted access to the protection they need and are entitled to receive, according to international refugee law," he added.

The secretary-general, while in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, on Monday commended African countries for opening their borders to refugees and people fleeing violence while other parts of the world, including the developed West, close boundaries and build walls.

Guterres was in Addis Ababa to attend the summit of the African Union, which attracted several dozen African leaders.

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