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14 Okt 2015

Sam Jones, Guardian (UK)

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights raises concern over media's role in fomenting anti-refugee sentiment

"Refugee rhetoric echoes 1938 summit before Holocaust, UN official warns", 14 Oct 2015

The dehumanising language used by UK and other European politicians to debate the refugee crisis has echoes of the pre-second world war rhetoric with which the world effectively turned its back on German and Austrian Jews and helped pave the way for the Holocaust, the UN’s most senior human rights official has warned. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights...However, Zeid also insisted that responsibility for protecting and promoting human rights extended far beyond politics, accusing some in the media of fomenting the idea that migrants pose “a grave threat to the security of the country” and were not to be trusted. “In a modern, democratic society, you expect that there will always be some voices reflecting opinions in the extreme and my office of course supports the right to express your views as freely as you can and as wide a [breadth] should be given to that as possible,” he said.  “But when the media begins to fan such opinions, I think we have to be very careful about where this may lead and again we’ve had past experiences in Europe’s most recent history which leave us very worried.” He said he had felt compelled to criticise the Sun newspaper this year, after its columnist Katie Hopkins described migrants as “cockroaches” because the word was “straight out of the language of [Nazi publisher] Julius Streicher in the 1920s – and of course,Radio [Télévision Libre des] Mille Collines in Rwanda in 1994”.