US pulls out of human rights panel on Trump executive orders

By REUTERS
March 22, 2017 00:53
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WASHINGTON, March 21 - The United States pulled out of a regional hearing held on Tuesday to discuss the possible effects on human rights from executive orders signed by US President Donald Trump targeting immigrants and refugees, organizers said.

The hearing by 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 over the impact of three executive orders signed by Trump, including plans to build a wall on the border with Mexico. The US government has appealed a federal judge's halt on Trump's ban on refugees and travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries. Trump said the ban was needed to protect the country from Islamist militants but immigration advocates said it discriminated against Muslims.

Maria Isabel Rivero, a spokeswoman for the IACHR, said the United States advised the commission on Monday it would not attend the panel, which includes representatives from a number of regional human rights and immigration groups.

"If the member state doesn't want to be represented there is nothing we can do about it but the hearing goes ahead anyway," Rivero said.

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