Adam DeMarco: A Violation of International Law

May Day Protest for Immigrants Rights. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

In 1948, the United States signed a Universal Declaration of Human Rights along with other initial members of the United Nations; this was the first step in protecting individual human rights after the horrors of World War II. In 1951, the United Nations continued to build on this, and formulated the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, simply known as the 1951 Refugee Convention.

The 1951 Refugee Convention is the main international instrument of refugee law, and while it has been amended from its first inception, by the 1967 Protocol, the spirit of the law remains the same. The core principle of the convention is “non-refoulement,” which asserts that a “refugee should not be returned to a country where they face serious threats to their life or freedom.” And under the 1951 Refugee Convention, which the United States signed and ratified, a refugee is then afforded and protected by international law under the various provisions held within this document.

To this end, any immigrant, or non-U.S. citizen, who presents him or herself in the United States, regardless of an official port of entry, claiming credible fear and or persecution, may seek asylum and protected status under the 1951 Refugee Convention to which we, the United States, are bound through international law.

The current actions of the Administration, Department of Justice, and Department of Homeland Security are in violation of these very same international laws that we have made the bedrock of our fight to end tyranny and oppression, while furthering the cause of freedom, individual human rights, and democracy. The specific policy of refusing to hear asylum appeals and prosecuting immigrants in criminal courts rather than civil courts, which is the basis for the current and inhumane family separation tactics being executed this very moment, is not only illegal under the very same laws we have affirmed to protect against but goes against the very fabric of our United States.

As the administration is refusing to adhere to the very same international laws they have signed on to protect and defend, I am calling on every member of Congress to sign a cease and desist letter to the administration ending these illegal practices. Furthermore, I implore the remaining 191 United Nations member states file a case against the United States for violation of these international laws, specifically for violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, to be tried in the International Court of Justice.

Adam DeMarco is running for Congress in District 3.

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