UN Human Rights Chief Urges Action Against Western 'Demagogues'

United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein condemned Western “demagogues” like Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, and Geert Wilders and urged people to “draw the line” against their far-right rhetoric before it leads to “colossal violence.”

Zeid spoke at the Hague in the Netherlands on Monday, about a week after Wilders, founder of the increasingly popular Dutch right-wing Party for Freedom, released an 11-point plan to ban the Koran, close Muslim schools and mosques, and shutter asylum centers around the country. And while polls show Wilders is poised to do well in the Netherlands’ elections in March, Zeid said, his incendiary tactics are similar to those used by the Islamic State (ISIS or Daesh).

“All seek in varying degrees to recover a past, halcyon and so pure in form, where sunlit fields are settled by peoples united by ethnicity or religion—living peacefully in isolation, pilots of their fate, free of crime, foreign influence, and war,” Zeid said. “A past that most certainly, in reality, did not exist anywhere, ever.”

“The formula is therefore simple: make people, already nervous, feel terrible, and then emphasize it’s all because of a group, lying within, foreign and menacing,” he said.

“History has perhaps taught Mr. Wilders and his ilk how effectively xenophobia and bigotry can be weaponized.”
—Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein

“Then make your target audience feel good by offering up what is a fantasy to them, but a horrendous injustice to others. Inflame and quench, repeat many times over, until anxiety has been hardened into hatred.”