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31 Jan, 2017

Civil Rights Groups Urge CEOs on Trump’s Business Council to Step Down NOW!

A compilation of just a few reactions and statements by various groups all around the world on U.S. President Donald Trump’s Muslim-ban order.


Civil Rights Groups Urge CEOs on Trump’s Business Council to Step Down NOW!

Washington DC, 30 Jan 2017 — (Muslim Advocates media release) – As days of national protests have continued in the wake of President Trump’s issuance of an anti-refugee and anti-Muslim executive order, civil rights groups Muslim Advocates and Color of Change are demanding that the 19 CEOs who sit on Trump’s business council immediately resign their positions with the President.

The council, formally known as the Strategic and Policy Forum, consists of CEOs of major companies like PepsiCo, General Electric, Wal-Mart,Walt Disney, Boeing, Tesla, Uber, the Cleveland Clinic, and others to provide counsel to the President on business matters. CEOs of several of the companies have issued statements against the ban, but none have resigned their membership.

“Being a member of this council is an endorsement of bigotry,” said Farhana Khera, president and executive director of Muslim Advocates. “Writing a statement isn’t enough when the President is attempting to criminalize an entire religion. If these companies want to be on the right side of history and the right side of their customers, they’ll step down from this council immediately.”

Uber, having been subject to the #DeleteUber campaign, has faced the most grassroots backlash to its membership on the council. It’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, has denounced the ban but has stopped far short of resigning his membership.

Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove is also on the council even though one of his own employees, whose visa was sponsored by the Cleveland Clinic, was denied entry back into the United States after an overseas trip.

“Those who enable Trump and his bigoted agenda are no better than him,” said Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of Color Of Change. “These CEOs are selling out our country and its values, all to make a quick buck by having access to the President. We won’t mince words: any CEO who stays on this council is placing access to power over people’s lives, they are putting money over this country’s future. In this moment in our nation, we will not forgot those who remained silent and we will hold special contempt for those who used their access and power for profit.”


CAIR logo(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/30/2017) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today held a news conference at its Capitol Hill headquarters in Washington, D.C., to announce the filing of a federal lawsuit on behalf of more than 20 named and “john doe” individuals challenging the constitutionality of President’s Trump’s recent “Muslim ban” executive order.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court – Eastern District of Virginia, states that the order is unconstitutional because its apparent purpose and underlying motive is to ban people of the Islamic faith in Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

TEXT OF CAIR’S LAWSUIT: http://www.cair.com/images/press_releases/Complaint-1.30.2017FOR-FILING.pdf

Video: Full News Conference 

Read more:

White House Uses Terror Attack on Canadian Mosque to Justify Muslim Ban

Steve Bannon Believes Christians Locked in ‘Bloody Conflict’ with Islam — Now He Heads US Security

The Dark History of the White House Aides Who Crafted Trump’s “Muslim Ban”

Beloit College Investigates Anti-Semitic Note, Muslim Threat on Campus


WTTC comment on President Trump’s executive order banning travel from 7 countries

London, 30/1/2017 – David Scowsill, President & CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), said: “The Executive Order issued by US President Trump on 27 January 2017 banning travel to the US from seven countries for 90 days goes directly against the fundamental right of Freedom to Travel. It has created immense confusion among travellers and travel companies worldwide.”

WTTC believes that all people have the right to cross international borders safely and efficiently for business and tourism purposes. The blanket suspension of admittance of travellers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen to the US flies against this principle. Suspending travel based only on a person’s nationality or their origin is wrong.

Many travellers have been unnecessarily disrupted, due to the unclear nature of the Executive Order, coupled with a lack of prior consultation and poor communication to airlines and border officials.

“If this move by the Trump Administration is designed to ‘prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals’, it is important to point out that the vast majority of terrorist attacks in the recent past have been perpetrated by home grown, radicalised nationals of the country involved. None of the shocking domestic incidents in the US since 2001 have been attributed to external terrorists who have specifically flown into the country to commit an atrocity. Preventing ‘aliens’ from entering the US for legitimate business or leisure purposes is misguided and counter-productive for the American economy.

Travel & Tourism bridges divides between cultures, fosters understanding across religious and geographic boundaries, and generates more peaceful co-existence. Our sector is responsible for the livelihoods of millions worldwide. The US has suffered in the past from similar isolationist policies. We urge the Trump Administration to reconsider this ban.”


ACTE Survey: US Travel Ban Spreads Fear And Uncertainty

30 January — Twenty percent of companies responding to a survey conducted by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives report that the current US travel ban is causing their travelers difficulty. Of that group, 25 percent cite “fear of traveler harassment, fear of reprisals,” and “new uncertainty factors” as contributing to those difficulties. Thirty-nine percent of the 260 respondents stated the travel ban has the potential to reduce corporate travel.

“These percentages are way out of line for an industry that is constantly under pressure,” said ACTE’s Executive Director Greeley Koch. “Furthermore, business travel is about people. And people with bone fide visas should not be subject to fear, delays, or harassment over their visa document.”

Koch added that business travelers and their companies abhor uncertainty. “If there is doubt about the validity of a visa, or worry about entering the US, or fear of reprisals, then business travelers will opt not to go. Companies with duty of care concerns will not subject their employees to these kinds of risks. This level of uncertainty is bad for business.”

On the nature and implementation of the ban, Koch said, “The travel industry needs policy that eliminates confusion and uncertainty… Not policy that fosters it.”

The ACTE Travel Ban Survey revealed:

1. Is the US travel ban from select countries (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) posing travel difficulties for your company?

• Yes = 20%

• No = 46%

• Not Yet Sure = 34%

2. What is the nature of the travel difficulties?

• Fear of traveler harassment = 6%

• Fear of reprisals or harassment of US travelers in the Middle East = 5%

• Uncertainty regarding Green Card and approved via credibility = 4%

• Limited access to employee pool = 2%

• All of the above = 25%

• Not sure yet = 16%

• Did not apply = 38%

3. What do you project could be the lasting impact of this ban?

• Cancelling of contracts with US-based companies and Middle-Eastern firms = 11%

• New and intensified threats against US travelers abroad = 22%

• Immediate complications with existing travel arrangements for a significant number of travelers = 23%

• Not yet sure = 44% 

4. In response to the question, Will this travel ban reduce your company’s travel:

• 3% percent said, “Significantly.”

• 36% percent said “Somewhat”

• 61% said “Not at all.” 

The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) has a 29-year reputation for pioneering educational and technological advances that make business travel productive, cost-effective and straightforward. ACTE initiatives drive change in corporate KPIs, technology, and travel policy philosophy, all while improving conditions for business travellers and increasing corporate revenue. www.acte.org

For more information, contact: Jack Riepe, ACTE Communications Officer, Mobile: +1 610.256.0124, jack.riepe@gmail.com


Bread for the World Statement: “This action reeks of bias against Muslims”

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Bread for the World issued a response today to President Donald J. Trump’s executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days. The executive order also places a four-month moratorium on new refugees from entering the country, and indefinitely bans Syrian refugees.

The following statement can be attributed to Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World:

“Our country has a moral imperative to receive those in need, no matter what religion they follow or where they are from. The United States has the most rigorous refugee screening process in the world. Placing a moratorium on new refugees entering the country, and indefinitely banning Syrian refugees, will only lead to more hunger and hardship, and inevitably the death of innocents.”

Bread for the World’s 2017 Hunger Report Fragile Environments, Resilient Communities, explains how state fragility – which is often the result of war, poor governance, and climate change – stands in the way of ending hunger and extreme poverty, and has led to the refugee crisis in Syria and elsewhere we see today.

Beckmann added, “Preventing people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. will tear apart families and leave countless people in a state of legal limbo. This action reeks of bias against Muslims and will work in favor of those who would do us harm. Our country is better than this.

“Bread for the World sees these actions as a hunger issue, especially since the seven countries are among the poorest in the world. When people are driven from their homes they go hungry. When families are torn apart they suffer. The effects of war and malnutrition can impact a child for his or her entire life. These actions are making the situation worse for families fleeing war and famine.

“Demonizing immigrants, and promoting deep divisions in society are contrary to God’s love and contribute to the persistence of hunger and poverty. We urge President Trump to immediately withdraw this order and call on him as president to live up to our nation’s ideals of inclusion and to foster respect for all people.”

Bread for the World (www.bread.org) is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.


UN agency ‘alarmed’ by uncertainty facing refugees in the process of being resettled in US

United Nations, UN News Centre, 30 January 2017 – The head of the United Nations refugee agency today said he is “deeply worried” by the uncertainty facing thousands of refugees around the world who are in the process of being resettled to the United States after the country suspended its refugee programme last week.

According to a news release from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 800 refugees were set to make America their new home this week alone, but instead find themselves barred from travelling to the US.

Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. (file) Photo: UNHCR/S. Hopper

The statement follows President Donald Trump’s signing last Friday of an Executive Order that, among things, suspends the US refugee programme for 120 days and, according to the media, bars entry of refugees from several mostly Muslim countries, including Syria, until further notice.UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi underlined once again UNHCR’s position that refugees should receive equal treatment for protection and assistance, and opportunities for resettlement, regardless of their religion, nationality or race.

UNHCR estimates, based on average monthly figures for the last 15 years, that 20,000 refugees in precarious circumstances might have been resettled to the US during the 120 days covered by the Order.

“Refugees are anxious, confused and heartbroken at this suspension in what is already a lengthy process,” the release said.

“Those accepted for resettlement by the United States are, after a rigorous US security screening process, coming to rebuild their lives in safety and dignity. UNHCR hopes that they will be able to do so as soon as possible,” the release added.

Noting that for decades, the US has been a global leader in refugee protection, a tradition rooted in the tolerance and generosity of the American people, UNHCR expressed the hope that the country will continue its strong leadership role and its long history of protecting those who are fleeing conflict and persecution.

Meanwhile, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) issued a statement on child refugees that might be affected by the new US policy.

“The needs of refugees have never been greater. Worldwide 28 million children have been uprooted by conflict, driven from their homes by violence and terror. They need our help,” the statement said.

“The United States has a long and proud tradition of protecting children fleeing war and persecution. We trust that this support will continue and that the recent measures will prove to be temporary. All refugee children need our support.”

UNICEF said it is committed to continuing its work with governments and other partners around the world to help some of the most vulnerable children everywhere, from Syria to Yemen to South Sudan.


UN agencies express hope US will continue long tradition of protecting those fleeing conflict, persecution

28 January 2017 – The United Nations agencies dealing with global refugee and migration issues today expressed the hope that the United States will continue its strong leadership role and long tradition of protecting those who are fleeing conflict and persecution.

“The needs of refugees and migrants worldwide have never been greater, and the US resettlement programme is one of the most important in the world,” says a joint statement from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Displaced children and adults in Syria are seen in a vehicle after fleeing from ISIL-controlled areas in rural Raqqa to Ain Issa, the main staging point for displaced families, some 50 kilometres north of Raqqa city. Photo: UNICEF/Delil Soulaiman

The agencies note that the longstanding US policy of welcoming refugees has created a ‘win-win’ situation: it has saved the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in the world who have in turn enriched and strengthened their new societies.

“The contribution of refugees and migrants to their new homes worldwide has been overwhelmingly positive,” they add.

The statement from the agencies follows President Donald Trump’s signing this past Friday of an Executive Order that, among things, reportedly suspends the US refugee programme for 120 days and, according to the media, bars entry of refugees from several mostly Muslim countries, including Syria, until further notice.

“Resettlement places provided by every country are vital. The UN refugee agency [and] the International Organization for Migration hope that the US will continue its strong leadership role and long tradition of protecting those who are fleeing conflict and persecution,” the agencies state, adding that they remain committed to working with the US Administration towards the goal we share to ensure safe and secure resettlement and immigration programmes.

UNHCR and the IOM go on to express the strong belief that refugees should receive equal treatment for protection and assistance, and opportunities for resettlement, regardless of their religion, nationality or race.

“We will continue to engage actively and constructively with the US Government, as we have done for decades, to protect those who need it most, and to offer our support on asylum and migration matters,” the statement concludes.