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UN Rights Chief Blasts Trump as 'Dangerous' for Global Community

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein condemns GOP nominee's "deeply unsettling and disturbing" views on torture and minorities

"There are very real fears that are being stoked and exploited," UN rights chief says of Donald Trump's presidential campaign. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

In what one newspaper described as an "extraordinary intervention," United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein has said a Donald Trump presidency would be "dangerous" for the international community.

Zeid made the comments Wednesday during a news briefing in Geneva. Citing Trump's "deeply unsettling and disturbing" views on torture and "vulnerable communities" such as Muslims, minorities, and immigrants, the U.N. rights chief declared:

If Donald Trump is elected on the basis of what he has said already—and unless that changes—I think it is without any doubt that he would be dangerous from an international point of view. I always believe that it's incumbent on leaders to lead and to lead in a way that is ethical and moral. The use of half-truths is a very clever political device. Because, as every propagandist knows, you allow the user to fill in the rest.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein arrives for a media briefing at the U.N. European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday. (Photo: Reuters)This is not the first time Zeid has spoken out against Trump. In April, he issued a salvo against Trump and other Republican presidential candidates, saying "bigotry is not proof of strong leadership." And last month, he condemned Western "demagogues" like Trump, the U.K.'s Nigel Farage, and Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, while urging people to "draw the line" against their far-right rhetoric before it leads to "colossal violence."

"We must guard [human rights] law passionately, and be guided by it," he said at the time. "Speak out and up, speak the truth and do so compassionately, speak for your children, for those you care about, for the rights of all, and be sure to say clearly: stop! We will not be bullied by you the bully, nor fooled by you the deceiver, not again, no more; because we, not you, will steer our collective fate. And we, not you, will write and sculpt this coming century. Draw the line!"

Zeid has drawn some flak for his comments, specifically from Russia, which reportedly lodged a formal complaint with the U.N. last month over his previous remarks on Trump and other Western leaders.

But Zeid defended his responsibility to speak out on Wednesday saying: "We are not a political office, so we are not going to get into...politics, but where it affects the rights of people and especially vulnerable groups, we will speak. I see no reason to curb what it is that we are saying."

"There are very real fears that are being stoked and exploited," he said, adding that "it is within the mandate of the office to speak out where we feel that vulnerable groups are being targeted for reasons that are misplaced."

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