The United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU), as well as several organisations and people from African countries and the Caribbean, announced anger over US President Donald Trump’s racist remarks.
Trump criticised immigration to the United States from Haiti, and the African continent, describing countries in the latter as “shithole countries” at a meeting with congress members at the White House on Thursday.
Suggesting that the US should focus its immigrant entry policy on countries such as Norway, Trump asked, “why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” according to US media.
On Friday, a group of 55 African ambassadors to the United Nations issued a statement denouncing Trump’s remarks. The ambassadors said that their countries were shocked by those racist remarks that expressed hatred towards foreigners. They demanded Trump apologise for his remarks. They also expressed support for Haiti and all countries mentioned in Trump’s statements.
“The African Union mission to the UN is extremely appalled at and strongly condemns the outrageous, racist, and xenophobic remarks attributed to the US president as widely reported by the media,” said Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, Ghana’s ambassador to the UN, following the emergency session of the African ambassadors there.
African Union spokesperson Ebba Kalondo said in a statement, “given the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behaviour and practice.”
“This is particularly surprising as the United States of America remains a global example of how migration gave birth to a nation built on strong values of diversity and opportunity,” Kalondo added.
UN human rights spokesperson Rupert Colville described Trump’s remarks as “shocking and shameful” and said they went against the world’s “universal values.”
“You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’ whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome,” Colville told reporters at a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, saying, “I’m sorry, but there’s no other word one can use but racist.”
Following the international anger, Trump denied the racist remarks, tweeting on Friday that the language he used “was tough, but this was not the language used,” as he called for a “merit-based system of immigration and people who take our country to the next level.”