UN: Racism, xenophobia must be opposed in US, worldwide
A protester holds a sign reading "Racism is not Patriotism" at a march against white nationalism in New York City. (Reuters)
Racism and xenophobia must be countered in the United States as everywhere in the world, UN chief Antonio Guterres said Wednesday in response to a US political firestorm sparked by President Donald Trump.
The US commander-in-chief sparked a furious backlash Tuesday by appearing to put white nationalists and counter-demonstrators on an equal moral footing over weekend violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“I do not comment on what presidents say. I affirm principles and the principles I affirm are very clear,” the UN secretary general told reporters when asked for his reaction.
“Racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or Islamophobia are poisoning our societies and it is absolutely essential for us all to stand up against them everywhere and every time.”
The UN chief said it was essential to “condemn all forms of irrationality” that undermine tolerance and diversity “be it in the United States or everywhere else in the world. Unfortunately these demons are appealing a little bit everywhere.”
“Whenever necessary I will say whatever I believe is necessary independently of the fact that might be not pleasant for the president of this country or any other country,” he said.
A woman was killed and 19 other people injured in Charlottesville on Saturday when a suspected white supremacist drove his car into a group of counter-protesters.
“I think there is blame on both sides,” Trump said on Tuesday. “You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent.”