UN says US visa ban does not affect its employees
UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations has received assurances from Washington that its employees from Muslim countries hit by the US visa ban will be able to travel to New York to work at UN headquarters.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric initially told a briefing Monday that a handful of staff was unable to board US-bound flights over the weekend.
He later clarified that there were no confirmed cases of UN staff members being affected by the new policies.
On Friday, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order suspending the arrival of all refugees for a minimum of 120 days, Syrian refugees indefinitely and barring citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.
Some UN employees from the blacklisted countries have G4 visas, which are issued to staff of international organizations – a class of visas that was deemed exempt in the order.
“We have gotten assurances from the US mission that UN staff members from those seven countries listed, who have valid G4 visas, will be allowed to come in the United States for their work,” Dujarric said.
The United Nations has said it hopes the visa ban will be temporary, but has not urged Trump to reverse course.
“Obviously, we have seen the confusion that has taken place over the last few days, and it’s clear that it’s of concern to us,” said Dujarric.
UN rights chief Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein called the ban illegal and mean-spirited, issuing the toughest response from the United Nations.
Human Rights Watch called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to take a clear stand and condemn the US ban.
“At a time when governments, civil society and business leaders are increasingly speaking out, it’s important that the UN’s message not come solely from the UN human rights chief,” said HRW deputy director for global advocacy Philippe Bolopion.
“Secretary-General Guterres should take a clear stand that Trump’s executive order is a blow to refugees, reflects bigotry and will do little to address terrorism.”