In the News

 News Update

June 28, 2017

Sarah L.S. Erickson, J.D., News Associate

The Syrian government released almost 700 detainees ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan. Those released were being held as political dissidents accused of backing insurgents opposing the Assad regime. This release of detainees comes amidst new U.S. claims that the Assad regime is planning another chemical attack on Syria’s civilian population.

The United Nations Human Rights Council will send experts to the Democratic Republic of Congo to investigate claims that thousands of civilians, including men, pregnant women, and children, are being targeted and murdered by government forces. The Congolese government has resisted independent investigations in the country but the recent upsurge in violence has caused heightened concern. Among the dead include two UN experts who were sent last year to investigate claims of mass graves.

The United Nations released a report stating that the number of displaced people reached 65.6 million in 2016, and 22.5 million are refugees. A majority of the refugees are fleeing conflicts in Syria and South Sudan. Over 10.2 million people became displaced in 2016 alone, one person fleeing home every three seconds. This sobering report comes at a time when the world’s wealthiest countries are placing greater restrictions on their acceptance of refugees. The report documents that 84 percent of refugees fled to countries that are the least economically able to handle the burden of a population influx.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a portion of Trump’s travel ban could go into effect. The Court decided that the section of the ban barring people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen who are foreign nationals and do not have a “bona fide relationship” with a U.S. citizen or entity from entering for 90 days could be implemented. This means refugees from the six countries, who do not have a U.S. sponsor, are unable to travel or enter the US. The Court will hear oral arguments on the entirety of the ban this fall and all other measures included in the ban are suspended until that date.