NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (JANUARY 30, 2017) (REUTERS) – The executive director of Doctors without Borders on Monday (January 30) told Reuters an executive action halting travel for people from seven nations sent a “poisonous message” to the world and prolonged the agony of people fleeing war and crises.
Trump said these actions were needed “to protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States.”
Jason Cone, who runs the U.S. part of the worldwide charity Médecins Sans Frontières said the order would further endanger a population already in peril.
“Well right now what it does is effectively cut off another possible avenue for people to flee some of the most violent conflicts we’re seeing today, particularly Syrians,” Cone said.
“These are some of the most victimized people on earth. They are people who have lost family members, they’ve been victims of sexual violence, incredible trauma, for which most of them are really lacking access to both health care but also just the kinds of mental health support that they need to continue on their lives. So they’re really the most vulnerable people on earth, are refugees that we’re talking about, that this executive order effectively targeting and essentially heightening the pain and suffering they’ve already had to live through from fleeing the different wars they’ve been facing,” Cone said.
Cone said other countries, many of which bear a large share of refugees, would take note of the U.S.’ actions and might be less likely to want to shelter immigrants.
“It shakes the very foundation of the protections that different international conventions afford refugees. It really, it sends a very poisonous message out there into the into the world. And so President Trump’s executive order has reverberations that go far beyond probably what we’ve seen just in the last 72 hours since it was enacted,” he said.
The order sparked a global backlash, including from U.S. allies that view the actions as discriminatory and divisive.
On his Twitter page on Monday morning, Trump defended the order.
“There is nothing nice about searching for terrorists before they can enter our country. This was a big part of my campaign. Study the world!” he tweeted.