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UN Rights Chief Warns of Bigotry in U.S. Presidential Campaign

  • RFE/RL

UN Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid bin Ra'ad Al-Hussein arrives for a media briefing in Geneva, in this file photo taken February 1, 2016.

UN Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid bin Ra'ad Al-Hussein arrives for a media briefing in Geneva, in this file photo taken February 1, 2016.

The United Nations’ top human rights official warned of bigotry and discrimination in the U.S. presidential election campaign, in remarks aimed squarely at the Republican front-runner, Donald Trump.

In a speech April 15 in Cleveland, Ohio, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein singled out comments by Trump that he said advocated the use of torture and supported increased surveillance of Muslims.

"Bigotry is not proof of strong leadership," said Zeid, who is the UN high commissioner for human rights, based in Geneva.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives to give a victory speech after primary elections held in several U.S. states, on March 15, 2016.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives to give a victory speech after primary elections held in several U.S. states, on March 15, 2016.

"Hate speech, incitement and marginalization of the 'other' are not a tittering form of entertainment, or a respectable vehicle for political profit," he said.​

Zeid did not mention Trump by name but spoke only of the "front-running candidate for president."

"To casually toss this gasoline on the smoldering embers of fear is to risk great harm to a great nation,” he said.

Trump, a billionaire real estate developer, leads the Republican candidates vying for the presidency, followed by Senator Ted Cruz, who has also advocated increased measures against American Muslims.

Republicans will gather in Cleveland in July for their convention, where delegates will choose the party’s official nominee for the general election in November.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP

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