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U.N. Urges Politicians Against Discrimination of Syrian Refugees

by AFP
Dominick Reuter—AFP

Dominick Reuter—AFP

Spokesman says rightwing rhetoric shows disrespect for refugees and migrants.

The United Nations took aim Monday at politicians who want to end the resettlement of Syrian refugees following the Paris attacks, saying the “rhetoric” showed disrespect and that there can be no discrimination.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted last week to ban Syrian and Iraqi refugees from entering the United States until tougher screening measures are in place. Rightwing politicians in the United States and Europe have argued that Syrians must be denied entry out of fear that Islamic State fighters could use asylum as a cover to enter the country and stage attacks.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric described the appeals as “elevated rhetoric… an increase in language where people talk about discrimination and, I think, disrespect for refugees and migrants who have sometimes spent decades in camps and are fleeing horrendous conditions of violence. What is clear is that there can be no discrimination on the basis of religion, ethnicity or any other factor when it comes to resettlement of refugees.”

U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson has compared refugees fleeing Syria’s war and Islamic State extremists to rabid dogs and called for “screening mechanisms that allow us to determine who the mad dogs are.”

His rival Donald Trump made several belligerent remarks about Muslims and Syrian refugees in the wake of the attacks, including expressing support for registering U.S. Muslims in a database. French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has called for an “immediate halt” to the intake of migrants and refugees.

One of the attacks that left 130 dead in Paris on Nov. 13 may have been a Syrian national who entered the country as part of the wave of migrants fleeing war.

The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR has set up a vetting process to ensure that host countries have all required information about the future resident’s background. “The whole process of resettlement of refugees is a partnership,” Dujarric stressed.

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