Statement by the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights on the Attacks of September 11

We join the international community in expressing our condolences to the families and friends of all the victims in Tuesday's attacks. There can be no justification for these violent actions that have caused the loss of lives to so many unsuspecting and innocent people from all walks of life.

A number of us in the immigrant rights community in the U.S. have just returned from South Africa, from the United Nations conference against racism and xenophobia. We were able to witness first hand, and participate in discussions and debates on complex, complicated issues of international concern, and can reaffirm the importance of dialogue and respect among peoples and nations.

In past years, various acts of international aggression have provoked indiscriminate blame, sometimes resulting in retaliatory violence that has harmed innocent civilians, or which has particularly targeted immigrants and others based on their racial or ethnic backgrounds. We understand that the shock and anger produced by the unthinkable events of this past week also hold that awful potential - and in fact, certain groups, particularly in the Arab and Muslim communities, are already experiencing incidents of harassment or violence. Such retaliatory activity is clearly wrong and should not be tolerated. In light of the terrible loss that many have already suffered this past week, it is all the more distressful that more innocent people should be unnecessarily blamed and victimized.

We support the calls being made in this country and around the world, for a period of reflection and dialogue, for respect for innocent lives and for international law. In the difficult period ahead, we encourage all to join in these activities and more, to recommit ourselves to protecting our democratic principles, and to building a society where we can all live in dignity and peace.  

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) 310-8th St., Ste. 303 Oakland, CA 94607 510.465.1984 510.465.1885 (fax) Visit us at www.nnirr.org  

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