UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Wednesday said he was concerned by the new U.S. administration’s handling of a number of human rights issues, namely the recent surge in discrimination, anti-Semitism and violence against ethnic and religious minorities.
Addressing the ongoing Human Rights Council’s 34th session Wednesday, the UN rights chief said that he was worried about new U.S. immigration policies that banned the admission of people from six predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days, as well as policies which greatly expanded the number of immigrants at immediate risk of deportation.
“Greater and more consistent leadership is needed to address the recent surge in discrimination, anti-Semitism, and violence against ethnic and religious minorities,” he said.
“Vilification of entire groups such as Mexicans and Muslims, and false claims that migrants commit more crimes than U.S. citizens, are harmful and fuel xenophobic abuses,” he added.
Zeid told the council that he was “dismayed” at attempts by the U.S. president to intimidate or undermine journalists and judges, and he was concerned about new immigration policies that ban admission of people from six predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days, as well as policies which greatly expand the number of migrants at immediate risk of deportation, “without regard for years spent in the US or family roots”.
“These threaten to vastly increase use of detention, including of children,” he noted.
He pointed out that expedited deportations could amount to collective expulsions and refoulement, in breach of international law, if undertaken without due process guarantees, including individual assessment.
“I am especially disturbed by the potential impact of these changes on children, who face being detained, or may see their families torn apart,” he concluded. Enditem