The United Nations human rights office has denounced as “racist” US President Donald Trump’s recent remarks branding Africa and Haiti as “shithole countries”.
“There is no other word one can use but racist. You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’, whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome,” the UN human rights spokesman, Rupert Colville, said at a Geneva news briefing on Friday.
Trump referred to countries such as El Salvador, Haiti and certain African nations, as “shithole” countries, urging lawmakers to make efforts to stop immigrants from these countries entering the US, and instead accept immigrants from countries such as Norway, according to two sources familiar with the comments made during a White House meeting on Thursday.
Trump’s comments sparked anger and drew global condemnation. Haiti summoned Robin Diallo, the US chargé d’affaires to the country, to meet the Haitian president, Jovenel Moïse, to discuss Trump’s comments.
Laurent Lamothe, the former Haitian president, expressed his dismay at the remarks, saying the US president had shown “a lack of respect and ignorance”.
El Salvador’s foreign minister, Hugo Martínez, also reacted to the comments, stressing Salvadoran contributions to the US. “A good part of those who helped rebuild New Orleans after Katrina were Salvadoran. I feel proud to be Salvadoran,” he tweeted.
The African Union said it was alarmed by Trump’s language. “Given the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behavior and practice,” AU spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo said.
Kenyans, Nigerians condemn Trump’s remarks
Residents in Kenya’s capital Nairobi rejected Trump’s recent comments, and expressed disbelief and disgust at them.
They also stressed that Trump needs to acknowledge the achievements Africans have made in his country.
“Whatever (President) Trump has said is an abuse to African countries because we are developing at our own level, he can’t compare us to them who have been independent for 200 years or so,” William Alum, a Nairobi resident, said Friday.
Alum added that Trump “needs to retract those ill statements that he said.”
The comments also sparked anger in Nigeria’s city of Lagos with residents strongly condemning them.
Lagos resident and IT professional Mayowa Okuwade slammed Trump’s comments as “very bad”, saying Africans “should learn from this” to work within their countries.
“They (the US) gain more from Africa because even right in their states they have a lot of immigrants who work for them, even in their own country they don’t even work,” Okuwade added.
Abdulsalam Kayode, a business analyst and Lagos resident, said Trump’s comments were “not unexpected” and urged Africans to “step up our (game)”.
The US president said on Friday morning that he used ‘tough’ language at the meeting, but denied it was the language that has been reported.