The head of the U.N.’s human rights agency launched the latest in a series of attacks at the Trump administration Monday over its crackdown on illegal immigration in the midst of a speech that highlighted human rights abuses in places such as Venezuela, Syria, Iraq, and Myanmar.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, in a speech in Geneva at the opening session of the Human Rights Council, opened his remarks by taking a veiled shot at the U.S. over the “hypocrisy” of governments who seek to defend rights abroad while ignoring them at home.
“Does it not disturb governments to defend the rights of humans elsewhere—in order to project themselves as global players—while at home they openly deny the rights of their own people?” Zeid, a Jordanian prince, said. “Do they not recognize the hypocrisy?”
The Trump administration has trained its sights on the Human Rights Council, with U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley urging the Council to reform its membership (which includes countries such as Cuba and Venezuela) and shed its anti-Israel bias.
In his speech, after listing human rights issues in countries such as Myanmar, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Vietnam, Yemen, and North Korea, Zeid turned to Israel and then the U.S.
Zeid first expressed his concern with the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which granted amnesty to illegal immigrants brought to the country as children. President Trump has since called on Congress to “legalize DACA.” Zeid expressed a similar hope, hailing the “positive impact” of DACA on the lives of the illegal immigrants and “on the U.S. economy and society.”
He then claimed that there has been an increase in the detention and deportation of “well-established and law-abiding immigrants,” saying:
I am disturbed by the increase in detentions and deportations of well-established and law-abiding immigrants: the number of migrants detained who had no criminal convictions was 155% higher in the first five months of this year than in the equivalent period in 2016. Some migrants, including longstanding residents, are now so frightened of expedited deportation they refrain from accessing police protection and courtrooms; for example, reports of rape by Latina women in Houston fell by 43% in the first three months of 2017.
Zeid failed to mention that those being deported would still be those in the country illegally (there are no reports of legal immigrants being deported for no reason). In his remarks, he made no distinction between a legal immigrant and an illegal immigrant.
Zeid is known for his fiery comments toward the Trump administration. In August, he told reporters that Trump had started a “dangerous sequence” by attacking members of the press.
“It’s really quite amazing when you think that freedom of the press, not only sort of a cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution but very much something that the United States defended over the years, is now itself under attack from the president himself,” he said, before calling Trump’s actions “poisonous.”
Before Trump won, Zeid compared Trump and other populist leaders to ISIS, and in June, he accused Trump of a “persistent flirtation” with torture. The U.S. is still the top voluntary contributor to Zeid’s office.
In his remarks Monday, he also expressed concern about “antisemitism and racism” expressed in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month and claimed it was “increasingly manifested online and in public debates.”
“Free speech is an invaluable and essential right, under both international standards and US law, and it should not be weaponized by calls for violence and hatred,” he said.
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY