Comments from US President “Shocking and shameful” (Geneva Press Briefing)


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Biweekly Geneva Press Briefing Chaired by Alessandra Vellucci, Director of the United Nations Information Service in Geneva.
(~30 mins in)
“Shocking and shameful” are the comments from the President of the United States said UN Human Rights spokesperson Rupert Colville Friday, referring to Donald Trump’s comment on African countries and Haiti as “s***hole countries” in a discussion about potentially restoring protected status for refugees from El Salvador, Haiti, and African countries.
Speaking to journalists in Geneva, Colville said that “these are shocking and shameful comments from the President of the United States. Sorry, but there is no other word one can use but ‘racist’. You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’ whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome.”
Regarding a suggestion by the US president Trump to bring in instead more people from countries such as Norway, Colville added that “the positive comment on Norway makes the underlying sentiment very clear. Like the earlier comments made vilifying Mexicans and Muslims, the policy proposals targeting entire groups on grounds of nationality or religion, and the reluctance to clearly condemn the anti-semitic and racist actions of the white supremacists in Charlottesville – all of these go against the universal values the world has been striving so hard to establish since World War II and the Holocaust”.
Furthermore, Colville said that “this is not just a story about vulgar language, it is about opening the door wider to humanity’s worst side, about validating and encouraging racism and xenophobia that will potentially disrupt and destroy the lives of many people. This is perhaps the single most damaging and dangerous consequence of this type of comment by a major political figure”.
OHCHR’s spokesperson also referred back to the High Commissioner’s speech at the Human Rights Council “in which he called on Congress to provide a durable legal solution for the so-called ‘Dreamers’. The future of the Dreamers should not be used as a bargaining chip to negotiate the most severe and restrictive immigration and security measures possible. These are human beings, not commodities”.
OHCHR is also concerned about the decision of the United States to terminate the Temporally Status Programme (TPS) for people from El Salvador (180,000 for September 2019), for Haitians (59,000 for July 2019) and people from Nicaragua (5,300 for October 2018).

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