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Fwd: [ncpeacejustice] Japanese style internments are starting -- no joke
by Threehegemons
19 March 2003 22:18 UTC
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Further evidence of the death of globalization...

Steven Sherman
--- Begin Message ---
NC Coalition for Peace and Justice Listserv

US to round up all Muslim and Arab asylum-seekers
By Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles
The Independent
19 March 2003

The United States has ordered the detention of all political
asylum-seekers from a long list of Arab and Muslim countries,
infuriating immigrant advocates who say it violates international
human rights law.

The Department of Homeland Security announced the policy shift as
part of its tightening of security in anticipation of a war with
Iraq, codenamed Operation Liberty Shield. "Asylum applications
from nations where al-Qa'ida, al-Qa'ida sympathisers and other
terrorist groups are known to have operated will be detained for
the duration of their processing period," the department said on
Monday night. It described the initiative as temporary,
"reasonable and prudent".

Department officials told reporters the order would affect nationals
from more than 30 countries, including Iraq and - in contrast to
previous government orders requiring immigrants to register with the
authorities - such US allies as Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The measure was denounced by human rights groups as discriminatory
and counter-productive. They argued that anyone who wished harm
against the United States would not voluntarily expose themselves
by applying for asylum. Targeting asylum-seekers, they said, was
"irrational" and "ridiculous". In a country founded by immigrants,
it carried unfortunate historical echoes of the mass internment of
Japanese Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Alison Parker, head of the refugee programme for Human Rights Watch,
said any detention order that did not consider each applicant's
case on its merits would be a violation of international law. "Our
concern is that anyone who is detained should have an
individualised hearing as to whether that detention is necessary,
conducted by an impartial
adjudicator. Such an assessment should not be applied across the
board to an entire nationality," she said.

Asked whether the government had made provision for individual
hearings, she added: "It sure doesn't sound like it."

Ms Parker said locking up asylum-seekers for security reasons
would send the wrong message about the nature of people fleeing
persecution, including Iraqis fleeing from Saddam Hussein. "It's a
sweeping generalisation of who they are and a very unfortunate one
... They are not terrorists, they are not security risks. They
should be protected."

Accusations of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim discrimination were
heightened by the launch of a new police hunt for potential terror
suspects across the United States that is focusing on mosques and
Arab Americans, especially Iraqis.

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