© Reuters. US withdraws from human rights panel on Trump executive orders
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States withdrew from a regional hearing on Tuesday to discuss the possible human rights effects of executive orders signed by US President Donald Trump against immigrants and refugees, organizers said.
The hearing of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), created by the 35-nation Organization of American States (OAS) to protect human rights in the Americas, follows concerns about the impact of three executive orders signed by Trump, which They include plans to build a wall on the border with Mexico.
The US government has appealed a federal judge’s suspension of Trump’s ban on refugees and travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries. Trump said the ban was necessary to protect the country from Islamist militants, but immigration advocates said it discriminated against Muslims.
María Isabel Rivero, a spokesperson for the IACHR, said the United States informed the commission on Monday that it will not attend the panel, which includes representatives from various regional human rights and immigration groups.
“If the member state does not want to be represented, there is nothing we can do about it, but the hearing goes ahead anyway,” Rivero said.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said government attorneys felt it would not have been appropriate to discuss executive orders while some are being reviewed by US courts.
“We inform the IACHR of our inability to attend these particular hearings due to ongoing litigation over some of these executive orders,” Toner said in a conference call with journalists.
“We do not feel that we could address the concerns in an open hearing,” he added.
Marselha Goncalves Margerin, Amnesty International’s defense director, said the lack of representation of the United States on the panel showed “total disregard for their commitment to human rights.”
He said that while it was not unprecedented for member states that are the focus of a hearing not to attend, the panel was an opportunity for the United States to explain the executive orders.
“The United States has attended these hearings for the past eight years,” Goncalves Margerin said. “By not being present at this hearing, the United States joins Cuba and Venezuela in turning its back on people in the Americas seeking justice for human rights abuses.”
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