Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, voiced his concern over the administration’s handling of a series of human rights issues including the treatment of immigrants and Muslims.
“Greater and more consistent leadership is needed to address the recent surge in discrimination, anti-Semitism, and violence against ethnic and religious minorities,” he told a meeting of the UN human rights council in Geneva.
“Vilification of entire groups such as Mexicans and Muslims, and false claims that migrants commit more crimes than US citizens, are harmful and fuel xenophobic abuses.”
Mr al-Hussein was speaking days after Mr Trump announced the creation of a new agency to deal specifically with crimes committed by “aliens” and pledged to publish a regular list of offences by non-US citizens.
The President has also unveiled his new immigration ban, cutting the number of targeting Muslim-majority countries from seven to six, lifting the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees, exempting green card holders and omitting the preference for “religious minorities”.
Despite the changes, Mr al-Hussein said the executive order was part of a raft of policies that could see children detained and families ripped apart by deportations “without regard for years spent in the US or family roots”.
“Expedited deportations could amount to collective expulsions and refoulement, in breach of international law, if undertaken without due process guarantees, including individual assessment,” he added.
The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued
The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued
1/9 Trump and the media
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer takes questions during the daily press briefing
2/9 Trump and the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Union leaders applaud US President Donald Trump for signing an executive order withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington DC. Mr Trump issued a presidential memorandum in January announcing that the US would withdraw from the trade deal
3/9 Trump and the Mexico wall
A US Border Patrol vehicle sits waiting for illegal immigrants at a fence opening near the US-Mexico border near McAllen, Texas. The number of incoming immigrants has surged ahead of the upcoming Presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, who has pledged to build a wall along the US-Mexico border. A signature campaign promise, Mr Trump outlined his intention to build a border wall on the US-Mexico border days after taking office
4/9 Trump and abortion
US President Donald Trump signs an executive order as Chief of Staff Reince Priebus looks on in the Oval Office of the White House. Mr Trump reinstated a ban on American financial aide being granted to non-governmental organizations that provide abortion counseling, provide abortion referrals, or advocate for abortion access outside of the United States
5/9 Trump and the Dakota Access pipeline
Opponents of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines hold a rally as they protest US President Donald Trump's executive orders advancing their construction, at Columbus Circle in New York. US President Donald Trump signed executive orders reviving the construction of two controversial oil pipelines, but said the projects would be subject to renegotiation
6/9 Trump and 'Obamacare'
Nancy Pelosi who is the minority leader of the House of Representatives speaks beside House Democrats at an event to protect the Affordable Care Act in Los Angeles, California. US President Donald Trump's effort to make good on his campaign promise to repeal and replace the healthcare law failed when Republicans failed to get enough votes. Mr Trump has promised to revisit the matter
7/9 Donald Trump and 'sanctuary cities'
US President Donald Trump signed an executive order in January threatening to pull funding for so-called "sanctuary cities" if they do not comply with federal immigration law
8/9 Trump and the travel ban
US President Donald Trump has attempted twice to restrict travel into the United States from several predominantly Muslim countries. The first attempt, in February, was met with swift opposition from protesters who flocked to airports around the country. That travel ban was later blocked by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The second ban was blocked by a federal judge a day before it was scheduled to be implemented in mid-March
SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP/Getty Images
9/9 Trump and climate change
US President Donald Trump sought to dismantle several of his predecessor's actions on climate change in March. His order instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to reevaluate the Clean Power Plan, which would cap power plant emissions
The human rights commissioner also took aim at Mr Trump for his frequent attacks on the press, seeing critical outlets excluded from briefings or banned from asking questions, and unfavourable coverage dubbed “fake news”.
“I am dismayed at attempts by the President to intimidate or undermine journalists and judges,” Mr al-Hussein said, alluding to the assault on members of the judiciary that opposed Mr Trump’s initial travel ban.
The US was among more than 40 countries examined in a wide-ranging speech on Wednesday, where the UN was warned that 2017 could prove to be a “pivotal year” for human rights amid terror attacks, security crackdowns, populism and the rise of “authoritarian-minded leaders”.
Europe’s response to the refugee crisis was targeted by Mr al-Hussein, who sounded a warning over plans to increase cooperation with the Libyan government in efforts to reduce boat crossings over the Mediterranean Sea.
“Many ordinary people in Europe have welcomed and supported migrants, but political leaders increasingly demonstrate a chilling indifference to their fate,” he said.
“I am particularly disturbed by lurid public narratives which appear deliberately aimed at stirring up public fear and panic, by depicting these vulnerable people as criminal invading hordes.”
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