This piece originally ran at Al Jazeera English.
The day after US President Donald Trump signed his now notorious Muslim ban, he spoke with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel. Over the phone, she reportedly "explained" to Trump the United States' obligations under international refugee law, which requires the international community to take in war refugees on humanitarian grounds.
It's hardly surprising that President Trump had to learn about the United States' responsibilities towards refugees from a foreign head of state. But it's clear that after only a week in office his administration's lack of familiarity with and respect for refugee and human rights law is already charting a dangerous course for the country and the world.
While the exact scope and meaning of the executive order continues to be deciphered, on its face and as applied to date, Trump's order appears to violate several international treaties ratified by the US, some provisions of which have been incorporated into US law and cited as binding by the US Supreme Court.
In particular, the order seems to fly in the face of the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees which updated the post-World War II Refugee Convention of 1951, and other international human rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, religion, or national origin.
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