The outgoing United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has criticized President Donald Trump for his rhetoric towards journalists and minorities. Speaking to the UK’s Guardian newspaper, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein explained why he is concerned by the President’s statements.
“We began to see a campaign against the media … that could have potentially, and still can, set in motion a chain of events which could quite easily lead to harm being inflicted on journalists just going about their work and potentially some self-censorship,” he told the Guardian in an interview. “And in that context, it’s getting very close to incitement to violence.”
Zeid is also worried about the effects of Trump’s rhetoric on other countries, where several authoritarians have aped his language.
“The US creates a demonstration effect, which then is picked up by other countries where the leadership tends to to be more authoritarian [in] character or aspires to be authoritarian,” he told the newspaper.
He went on to criticize Trump’s handling of immigration, highlighting the separation of children from their parents.
“When language is used in a way that focuses on groups of people who have traditionally suffered a great deal from bigotry and prejudice and chauvinism, it harked back to a period not too long ago in the 20th century when feelings were stoked, directed at a vulnerable group for the sake of political gain.”