Alice Vacek Aranda
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Those fleeing torture may seek asylum

The United Nations and civilized governments around the world recognize that torture exists in some regimes and acknowledges a duty to protect those countries' citizens from such barbaric practices.

Under the United Nation's charter, they recognize the "equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family [as] the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world . . . [and] those rights derive from the inherent dignity of the human person,"

Under Article 3 of that charter, it clearly states that:

"No State Party shall expel, return ("refouler") or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture."

Those words open the door to asylum for those targeted by oppressive regimes and political enemies in the asylum-seekers' home countries. Even in Arizona, which has lately taken a particularly hard line against immigrants, due in part to some high profile personalities with political connections and potential aspirations to higher office, seeking asylum out of fear of persecution in their home countries is legitimate.

Getting legal status in the United States on the basis of asylum is a complex process that, now more than ever before, is fraught with political implications. If ever there was a hot-button political topic that inspires such quick judgments and knee-jerk reactions, it is immigration. People of different skin colors and ethnic backgrounds for whom English is not their first language can be targeted and profiled by law enforcement and hauled back to the harsh environments from which they fled.

If you face circumstances back in your homeland where torture remains a constant threat or repercussion, you may wish to pursue legal asylum here in the United States.

Source: Human Rights Web, "Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment," accessed May 06, 2016

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