The U.S. government has skipped a meeting of a human rights commission that was examining President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters that it wouldn't have been appropriate for the United States to participate in the March 21 hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, because the order temporarily barring refugees and travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries from the United States was being challenged in court.
"We did not feel we could address concerns in an open hearing," Toner said.
Jamil Dakwar of the American Civil Liberties Union, one of several organizations that testified, said that the decision not to participate reflected an "isolationist policy that mirrors the behavior of authoritarian regimes."
"This is another worrying sign that the Trump administration is not only launching an assault on human rights at home but is also trying to undermine international bodies," Dakwar said.
The commission is a branch of the Organization of American States and it includes 35 countries from the Western Hemisphere.
Critics of the travel order went ahead with their testimony.