Washington Week on Human Rights: February 6, 2017


Muslim Ban Temporarily Halted

A decision Sunday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit preserved a lower judge’s order to temporarily halt implementation of President Trump’s executive order barring entry of refugees and visa holders from seven Muslim-majority countries. Former secretaries of state John Kerry and Madeleine Albright joined with Leon Panetta and other national security leaders today in asking the courts to continue blocking the executive order. Legal visas holders and refugees will be allowed entry during this temporary suspension of the executive order. The Justice Department has until 6:00 p.m. today to respond to the challenge of the ban. Following this response the court will either schedule a hearing or rule whether the ban should remain on hold.

Intelligence Executive Order

Following public outcry from voices across the political spectrum, including prominent members of the intelligence and national security communities, the White House has reportedly revised a draft executive order that would have reauthorized the use of CIA black sites and opened the door for the United States to return to the use of torture. The New York Times reported that the new draft order stripped out provisions that would allow the CIA to detain people in secret prisons, although it retains language that would allow for more prisoners to be detained at the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The administration is expected to move forward with the new executive order this week.


“We view the Order as one that ultimately undermines the national security of the United States, rather than making us safer…It could do long-term damage to our national security and foreign policy interests, endangering U.S. troops in the field and disrupting counterterrorism and national security partnerships. It will aid ISIL’s propaganda effort and serve its recruitment message by feeding into the narrative that the United States is at war with Islam.”

—Declaration to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit from Former secretaries of state John F. Kerry and Madeleine Albright, along with former top national security officials


Matt Gallagher writes in The Boston Globe that President Trump’s executive order on Muslim refugees and immigrants rejects the very allies that helped us when we needed them most.

The Washington Post reports on the recent naming of Gina Haspel as deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Haspel, who has spent 32 years at the agency, has deep ties to CIA black sites where torture was carried out.

McClatchy relates the frustration of veterans, who are standing up for Iraqi interpreters and translators that are being left in the cold because of President Trump’s executive order on immigration.

USA Today features a column that says the recent executive order on refugees makes the world worse, not better, while Politico similarly argues that it would encourage other countries to turn refugees away.


PoliticKING with Larry King talks with experts fighting President Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees, who call the ban on travel for individuals from seven nations “un-American.”


Sana Mustafa, a Syrian refugee and recent college graduate living in Red Hook, NY, talks with Radio WNYC’s The Takeaway about her future in America under President Trump’s now-paused travel ban.


Monday, February 6

The McCain Institute will host its 2nd Annual Human Trafficking Symposium.  The event will feature remarks by Ambassador Kurt Volker, executive director at the McCain Institute; Ronny Marty, council member at the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking; Tina Frundt, founder of Courtney’s House; Shandra Woworuntu, council member at the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking; Amy Sobel, Human Rights First; Cindy McCain, The McCain Institute; Senator Bob Corker; Senator Amy Klobuchar; and Congressman Ted Poe. 9:00 AM, Dupont Circle Hotel, 1500 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, February 7

The Atlantic Council will hold an event entitled, “Current Time: The Independent Russian Language News Network.” The event will feature John Lansing, CEO of Broadcasting Board of Directors; Thomas Kent, president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; Amanda Bennett, director of Voice of America; Daisy Sindelar, director of Current Time at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; Irina Van Dusen, director of Russian Service at Voice for America; and Melinda Haring, editor of UkraineAlert at the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council. 4:00 PM, Atlantic Council, 1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor, Washington, D.C.

The Johns Hopkins SAIS will host “A Panel Discussion on New Challenges for the Refugee Regime.” The discussion will feature Anne Richard, former assistant secretary of state for Population, Refugees and Migration; Michael Gabaudan, president of Refugees International; and Ruth Wedgwood, Edward Burling Professor of International Law and Diplomacy. 4:30 PM, Kenney Herter Auditorium, 1740 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, D.C.


Tuesday, February 7

The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “Ending the Crisis: America’s Borders and the Path to Security.” The hearing will feature testimony by Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. 10:00 AM, House Capitol Visitor Center Room 210, Washington, D.C.

The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will hold a hearing entitled, “The Plan to Defeat ISIS: Key Decisions and Considerations.” The hearing will feature the Honorable James Jeffrey, Philip Solondz Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute and Jeremy Bash, managing director at Beacon Global Strategies, LLC. 10:00 AM, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 419, Washington, D.C.

Human Rights First will host a discussion entitled, “A Conflicted Germany: The Struggle Between Xenophobia and Tolerance.” The discussion will feature Susan Corke, director of Antisemitism and Extremism Project, Human Rights First; Klaus Wahl, lecturer and professor of Sociology and Political Science at the University of Munich; and Yascha Mounk, fellow at the Transatlantic Academy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. 2:00 PM, Russell Senate Office Building, Room 485, Washington, D.C.

Thursday, February 9

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “Situation in Afghanistan.” The hearing will feature testimony by General John Nicholson, Jr., USA, commander of United States Forces in Afghanistan. 9:30 AM, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room G50, Washington, D.C.

The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will hold a hearing entitled, “The United States, The Russian Federation, and the Challenges Ahead.” The hearing will feature testimony by General Philip M. Breedlove, USAF (Ret.); Julianne Smith, senior fellow and director of the Strategy and Statecraft Program at the Center for New American Security. Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 419, Washington, D.C.


Published on February 6, 2017


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