Nigel Farage and Donald Trump are “populists and demagogues” using tactics comparable to Islamic State (IS), and the success of populism in 2016 echoes “fascist rhetoric”, the United Nation’s rights chief has said.
Jordanian aristocrat Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, the current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, blamed populism for an alleged rise in “hate crimes” and warned of the “banalization of bigotry” in Europe, according to the Telegraph.
He also took aim at Dutch nationalist Geert Wilders, Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary, and French Front National leader Marine Le Pen in a speech this Monday at a gala dinner organized by the Hague-based Peace, Justice and Security Foundation.
“2016 has been a disastrous year for human rights across the globe,” Mr. Zeid 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.”
He added: “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”.
Compared right-wing populism to Islamic State terrorists, he claiming the “mode of communication, its use of half-truths and oversimplification, the propaganda of [IS] uses tactics similar to those of the populists.”
“And both sides of this equation benefit from each other – indeed would not expand in influence without each others’ actions,” he added.
However, he also said: “Make no mistake, I certainly do not equate the actions of nationalist demagogues with those of Daesh, which are monstrous, sickening; Daesh must be brought to justice”.
Singling out Mr. Wilders’ call to stop asylum seekers entering his country and for a ban on Muslim schools, the UN boss said the policy proposals were “grotesque” and urged the audience “to speak out and up” against them.
“We will not be bullied by you the bully, nor fooled by you the deceiver, not again,” he insisted.
In a text message responding to the Telegraph’s requests for a reaction to the speech, Mr Wilders wrote: “Another good reason to get rid of the UN. I lost my freedom in my fight for freedom, and I don’t want my country to lose its freedom as well.
“That’s why we have to de-Islamize. Islam and freedom are incompatible whatever this Jordanian bureaucrat says.”
This morning, Mr. Wilders was found guilty of “incitement to discrimination” by a Dutch court. He branded the trial a politically motivated “charade” that endangered freedom of speech.