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    A staff installs a UNHCR flag close to a logo of UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) prior to the opening of a two-day United Nations conference trying to boost support for Iraqis who have fled violence, 17 April 2007 at the UN Office in Geneva

    UNHCR Notes US Must Follow Ratified International Refugee Accords

    © AFP 2018 / FABRICE COFFRINI
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    The United Nations refugee agency has pointed to the 1967 refugee Protocols, of which the US is a party, observing that Washington is in violation as it is limiting political asylum grants at official points of entry.

    The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Office (UNHCR) stated Friday that US President Donald Trump's proclamations on asylum are in violation of international refugee agreements.

    The new Trump decree reportedly bans migrants from applying for asylum outside of official ports of entry, meaning that any migrant crossing the border illegally to apply for refugee status on US soil will be automatically denied. The only way to apply for asylum in the US — according to the Trump proclamation — would be to arrive at official entry points along the nation's borders.

    According to the the agency, the Trump edict is a violation of the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, to which the US remains a signatory.

    "UNHCR expects all countries, including the United States, to make sure that any person in need of refugee protection and humanitarian assistance is able to receive it quickly and without obstruction, in line with the 1967 refugee Protocol, to which the United States is a party," the statement says.

    The UNHCR statement underscores that it is unrealistic to expect that all individuals in need of asylum present themselves at the border and then request protection. The reality of the refugee issue is complex, and requires "a structured management with dignified reception arrangements," noted the statement.

    Official entry points on the US southern border have repeatedly been criticized for lack of capacity to process asylum seekers, which some say causes immigrants to cross the border at other points.

    The UNHCR statement insists that those who opt to enter a nation at other than official points of entry are not doing so solely as a means of evading border authorities.

    As thousands of Central American migrants approach the US-Mexico border, the Trump administration has sought to reinforce the border with military personnel tasked with aiding Customs and Border Control staff.

    An estimated 4.500 migrants heading toward the US made a brief stop in Mexico City earlier this week, but most are expected to continue their journey in the upcoming days, as few applied for refugee status in Mexico.

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    migrant caravan, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Donald Trump, United States
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