Rights Reading

Our weekly roundup of what we’re reading: a few select articles from the front lines of human rights that we don’t want you to miss.

1. “Judge dismisses Texas lawsuit over resettlement of Syrian refugees,” The Guardian, June 16, 2016

Texas has lost its bid to keep Syrian refugees out after a federal judge on Thursday dismissed the state’s lawsuit over resettlements from the war-torn Middle Eastern country.

“US district court judge David Godbey said the state failed to make ‘a plausible claim for relief’ in its lawsuit against the federal government and the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a charity that aids refugees.”

Ruling in favor of both the federal government and the nonprofit IRC, Judge Godbey ruled that existing law does not support the State of Texas’s petition to require advance notice of the intent to settle Syrian refugees in the state, along with specific information about individual refugees.

Texas is one of several states seeking to deny or limit the rights of Syrian refugees to enter their states, an attempt that human rights advocates believe is clearly illegal.

“’The court is unequivocal in validating the lawfulness of the refugee resettlement program,’ said Jennifer Sime, senior vice-president of the IRC’s US Programs.

“The non-profit group said Syrians are the most vetted of the refugees it settles in Texas. A number of intelligence agencies are involved in the background check, and only those with the most well-founded cases ultimately qualify for resettlement.”

Learn more about UUSC’s work to advance the human rights of refugees from Syria and Central America here.

2. “The LGBT community isn’t condemning Muslims after Orlando and neither should you,” Nico Lang, Opinion, Los Angeles Times, June 14, 2016

“For LGBT people, the horrific bloodshed was a reminder that we are not equal in a country where our safety is not considered a priority: Just 18 states—including the District of Columbia—have hate crime laws on the books that cover both sexual orientation and gender identity. Many law enforcement agencies routinely fail to report hate crimes to federal agencies.

“For the Muslim community, however, the tragedy was a sign of the probable violence to come: After every act of violence attributed to a person of the Islamic faith, violent attacks against Muslims in the U.S. skyrocket.”

Nico Lang, the East Coast Writer for The Advocate, notes that “America has a rich, vibrant Muslim community—one as enormously diverse as it is largely moderate. In 2015, a Pew Research survey found U.S. Muslims to be tolerant of LGBT people: 42% supported marriage between same-sex partners, a rate that was more or less equal to Christians (44%) and higher than evangelicals (28%) or Mormons (40%).”

He calls for awareness of all these two communities have in common, and for an end to the hateful rhetoric by politicians seeking to create more division and intolerance. Lang’s comments close with, “This moment is an important reminder. Love always overpowers hate.”

Read more about UUSC’s stance on how to counter anti-Muslim bigotry in our Online Refugee Toolkit.