Middle East News

American Political Rhetoric Could Hurt Refugee Resettlement, Agency Says

Political rhetoric in the American presidential campaign could harm the U.N. refugee agency’s resettlement program, a spokesperson for the agency said Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva, Melissa Fleming, spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said she was concerned about the level of political rhetoric in the campaign.

Calls to ban Syrian or Muslim refugees from the United States could impact the resettlement program.

The UNHCR’s policy is to resettle the most vulnerable refugees first, including female heads of household, torture survivors and children in need of medical care. “Our resettlement program selects the people who are the most in need” regardless of religion, Fleming said.

The U.S. has the world’s largest refugee resettlement program, Fleming said, and refugees from Syria are “the most scrutinized,” undergoing a two-year evaluation period before being resettled.

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