Press Releases

Beyer, Connolly Call On Department of Homeland Security To Grant Asylum To Syrian Human Rights Advocate Dr. Radwan Ziadeh

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Washington, June 30, 2017 | comments

Virginia Representatives Don Beyer and Gerry Connolly issued the following statement today on the case of Dr. Radwan Ziadeh, currently under consideration by the Department of Homeland Security:

“The Department of Homeland Security's announcement that it intends to deny asylum to Virginia resident Dr. Radwan Ziadeh, a Syrian legal scholar and human rights advocate, is completely nonsensical. Dr. Ziadeh was accused of engaging in terrorist activity after helping arrange peace conferences that were attended by members of groups that received US support. To say that a person, like Dr. Ziadeh, who has devoted his entire life to securing a peaceful and democratic Syria has engaged in “terrorist activity” by helping to organize peace conferences that were attended by members of a group that came to be part of the opposition movement is unreasonable and unsupportable. 

It is U.S. policy to condemn Assad's brutality, but the Department of Homeland Security now proposes to refuse a leading critic of that regime lifesaving protection from those who have threatened him and his family with violence. Such a determination penalizes US partners in peace and diverts DHS' limited resources from barring others who mean us harm.  In addition, aside from important opposition figures like Dr. Ziadeh, thousands of everyday Syrian civilians who had routine contact with members of opposition groups could likewise be barred from immigration relief by such a broad interpretation of the relevant law.

We support a viable, inclusive peace in Syria built upon human rights and rule of law, and Dr. Ziadeh's efforts in this regard make him an asset to US foreign policy interests. The Department of Homeland Security should correct this error with all possible haste, and protect his ability to remain in Virginia and continue his work in pursuit of peace.” 

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