As U.S. Congress continue funding negotiations, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is alarmed at reports that aid to Ukraine could be withheld unless the bill includes permanent and devastating changes to the U.S. asylum system. In the face of potentially devastating changes, PHR is strongly urging lawmakers to safeguard the right to asylum.
For more than 30 years, PHR’s Asylum Network of over 2,000 volunteer health professionals has supported people seeking asylum who have survived torture, violence, and persecution by providing them with medical legal evaluations for use in U.S. immigration courts. Through this work, PHR appreciates the importance of our asylum laws and due process afforded to those seeking refuge, safe haven, and an opportunity to heal in the United States. PHR has also long spoken out about atrocities in Ukraine, documenting attacks on health care professionals and medical facilities as well as human rights violations.
The following quote is attributable to Tessa Wilson, senior program officer with the asylum program at PHR:
“The United States has both a legal and moral obligation to process people exercising their right to seek asylum in this country with safety, dignity, and respect for human rights. Funding for Ukraine cannot come at the cost of a cruel deal that would decimate the asylum system.
“Instead of trying to erect further barriers to accessing asylum, which would only exacerbate human suffering, resources should be directed toward humanely processing the asylum claims of individuals and prioritizing their safety.
“PHR remains committed to supporting the internationally recognized right to seek asylum. We call on members of Congress to reject any proposal that would undermine domestic asylum laws and international treaty obligations.”
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.