On Feb 23, 2017 The Washington Blade reported: A human rights activist from Kurdistan on Wednesday once again criticized President Trump’s immigration executive orders.
Ayaz Shalal, who is the deputy director of programs for the Rasan Organization, was among the panelists who spoke at an event the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and gay U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.)’s office co-hosted at the Rayburn House Office Building.
Shalal said he has visited the U.S. seven times. He told the audience via Skype from the city of Sulaymaniyah in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq that he will not be able to attend HRC’s Global Innovative Advocacy Summit in April in D.C. because Trump has banned citizens of Iraq and six other predominantly Muslim countries — Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya — from entering the U.S. for 90 days.
“This has made me very, very sad,” said Shalal.
The executive order that Trump signed on Jan. 27 not only imposed the travel ban, but suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days and indefinitely bans Syrian refugees from entering the country. The executive order also reduces the number of refugees who will be allowed to resettle in the U.S. during fiscal year 2017 from 110,000 to 50,000.
A three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month upheld a federal judge’s ruling that blocked the travel ban. The Trump administration in the coming days is expected to issue a revised executive order.
Jennifer Quigley of Human Rights First noted during the panel that Human Rights Campaign Global Director Ty Cobb moderated that Trump’s executive order prioritizes resettlement of refugees who have fled a “well-founded fear of persecution” based on their religion.
Homosexuality remains punishable by death in Iran and Sudan and in portions of Somalia. The so-called Islamic State has publicly executed dozens of men who were accused of committing sodomy in Iraq, Syria and Libya.
The executive order also requires countries to provide information about their citizens who want to resettle in the U.S. Quigley said this requirement could put LGBT refugees in danger.
“Can you imagine asking (Sudanese President Omar) al-Bashir or (Syrian President Bashar) for information on LGBT refugees and then the U.S. would make a determination as to whether to allow them to enter based on information from the people who are trying to kill them,” said Quigley.