US travel ban: Concern grows as White House stands firm

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New York

Global condemnation of a new US travel ban on immigration from seven countries is growing, as President Donald Trump faces fresh protests at home.
The European Union said it would never choose isolation and inequality over openness and social equality.
The parliament in Iraq, one of the seven nations, passed a motion calling for reciprocal action to be taken.
Amid widespread confusion, the White House has defended the restrictions as necessary safety measures.
The Trump administration says they do not amount to a ban on Muslims and they will be lifted once new security procedures are put into place.
In a tweet, Donald Trump said there were “a lot of ‘bad dudes’ out there”. He said that if a week of advance notice was given “the ‘bad’ would rush into our country during that week”.
But UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that the ban was “mean-spirited and wastes resources needed for proper counter-terrorism”.
Mr Trump’s executive order halted the entire US refugee programme for 120 days, indefinitely banned Syrian refugees and suspended all nationals from the seven, Muslim-majority, countries.
The list does not include Saudi Arabia, where most of the hijackers in the 9/11 attacks came from.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, which has 57 member states, said the restrictions would only help extremists.
Countries including Britain and Germany have sought assurances that their citizens with dual nationality will be protected.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised the restrictions again on Monday, saying the fight against terrorism does not justify “general suspicion against people of a specific faith”.
Some European politicians, including Czech President Milos Zeman and Dutch anti-immigration firebrand Geert Wilders, have praised the ban. In the US, 16 state attorneys general have said the order is unconstitutional. Several federal judges have temporarily halted the deportation of visa holders.
Three African countries – Somalia, Sudan and Libya – are on the banned list and as a result the African Union (AU) was facing one of its “greatest tests”, AU commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has said.—Agencies

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