UN chief issues warning on the rise of fascism

'2016 has been a disastrous year for human rights across the globe,' says Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad

Peter Walker
Friday 09 December 2016 09:17
Comments
Surrey-educated Jordanian Prince Zeid, pictured at a Geneva conference in October, said 2016 was disastrous
Surrey-educated Jordanian Prince Zeid, pictured at a Geneva conference in October, said 2016 was disastrous

Human rights are at risk of “unravelling” under unprecedented pressure and the “rhetoric of fascism” is being normalised, the United Nations has warned.

The UN’s human rights chief Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein also described 2016 as a “disastrous year”.

Ahead of the International Human Rights Day on Saturday, Mr Hussein's speech gave a thinly veiled assessment of conflicts in the Middle East and of the recent wave of anti-immigration politics.

“2016 has been a disastrous year for human rights across the globe,” Mr Hussein said. “If the growing erosion of the carefully constructed system of human rights and rule of law continues to gather momentum, ultimately everyone will suffer.”

Mr Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for Human Rights, referenced the war in Syria.

No End to Torture in Bahrain - Human Rights Watch

An estimated 11 million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of civil war in March 2011 and around one million of them have requested asylum in Europe.

He said it had unleashed a massive refugee crisis, extremist movements that are subjecting people to “horrific violence”, climate change, discrimination and “yawning economic disparities”.

The Jordanian warned that the failure of many leaders to deal with such issues has pushed many to turn to “the siren voices exploiting fears, sowing disinformation and division, and making alluring promises they cannot fulfil”.

His comments follow the 23 June Brexit vote, the surprise US election of Donald Trump and the defeat of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s referendum on constitution change.

All have been claimed, including by former Ukip leader Nigel Farage and far-right French politician Marine Le Pen, as victories for anti-establishment populism.

Hate crimes have spiked dramatically after the 70-year-old billionaire tycoon's 8 November election triumph.

”In some parts of Europe, and in the United States, anti-foreigner rhetoric full of unbridled vitriol and hatred, is proliferating to a frightening degree, and is increasingly unchallenged,“ said Mr Hussein.

”The rhetoric of fascism is no longer confined to a secret underworld of fascists, meeting in ill-lit clubs or on the 'deep net'.

“It is becoming part of normal daily discourse.”

During her tour of the Gulf earlier this month, Theresa May has dined with the leaders of the human rights abusing countries of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in