World leaders criticise Trump immigration move

AFP , Monday 30 Jan 2017

Indianapolis International Airport
People show signs at the Indianapolis International Airport, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, during a protest against President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily suspending all immigration for citizens of seven majority Muslim countries for 90 days. (AP)

Several world leaders and governments have hit out at the immigration restrictions imposed by US President Donald Trump.

Here are some of the top reactions:

Downing Street said on Sunday Prime Minister Theresa May does "not agree" with the restrictions and would intervene if they affected British nationals.

While US immigration is a matter for Washington, "we do not agree with this kind of approach and it is not one we will be taking," London said.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson tweeted Britain "will protect the rights and freedoms of UK nationals home and abroad. Divisive and wrong to stigmatise because of nationality."

European Union foreign policy supremo Federica Mogherini pledged the bloc would "continue to support, welcome and take care of those who flee from war".

"We will continue to celebrate for every wall that is torn down and for every new bridge that is built up. We will keep working for peace and coexistence. This is our history, this is our identity, our work and our commitment," added Mogherini.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not directly criticise Trump but said on his official Twitter account: "To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada."

This tweet was followed by one showing him with a young refugee at a Canadian airport and another that used the hashtag #ACanadianIsACanadian, as his office confirmed Canadian passport holders including dual nationals were unaffected by the ban.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif slammed Trump's move as "a clear insult to the Islamic world" and said it "will be recorded in history as a great gift to extremists and their supporters".

Zarif said Trump's decision "only serves to provide a fertile ground for more terrorist recruitment by deepening the ruptures and fault-lines which have been exploited by extremist demagogues to swell their ranks".

His ministry said earlier it would reciprocate with a ban on Americans entering the country, though it will not apply to those who already have a valid visa.

Angela Merkel's spokesman said the German chancellor "regrets the entry ban" and "is convinced that even in the necessarily resolute battle against terrorism, it is not justified to place people from a certain origin or belief under general suspicion".

Berlin "will now examine the consequences" of the ban for German citizens with dual nationality affected by the decision, added the spokesman.

Indonesia "deeply regrets" the move "because we believe it would affect the global fight against terrorism and the refugees management negatively," foreign ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir told AFP.

"It is wrong to link radicalism and terrorism with one particular religion," Nasir said.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said: "Welcoming refugees who are fleeing war is part of our duty."

"We must... ensure that this happens in a fair, just way and with solidarity ... This decision can only cause us concern."

Swedish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Margot Wallstrom called the decision "deeply unfortunate".

"This decision increases mistrust and tensions between people. Not since World War II have so many people fled war and conflict," she wrote.

"It is the joint responsibility of all countries to help them, including the US."

Trump's decision is "wrong", Swiss Foreign Affairs Minister Didier Burkhalter said.

"We have always been opposed to discrimination against human beings on the basis of religion or nationality," he said. "In that sense, the US order clearly goes in the wrong direction."

Burkhalter said the Swiss government would confer with American representatives to find out how the order would affect Swiss residents, especially dual nationals from countries affected.

Burkhalter also invoked the Geneva Conventions, saying they "mean that all countries welcome people affected by war for humanitarian reasons".

"It is therefore contrary to the Conventions to stop welcoming people coming from Syria," he added.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said all refugees fleeing war and violence "deserve a safe haven, regardless of their ethnicity or religion".

He added that while his government is conscious of the potential to abuse the refugee system, "we regret the US decision to ban the travel of people from seven Muslim countries and we reject it."

However, Geert Wilders, a lawmaker from the far-right Freedom Party, tweeted Sunday: "Less Islam means more freedom" and "No more immigration from an Islamic country is exactly what we need. Also in

The Netherlands, Islam and freedom are incompatible."

Going against the grain of global condemnation, a spokesman for Czech President Milos Zeman came out in favour of the ban.

"US President Trump protects his country, he's concerned with the safety of his citizens. Exactly what EU elites do not do," Jiri Ovcacek said.

Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski also refused to condemn the ban, saying "it's the right of every sovereign state to determine its own immigration policy".

"The scale of this phenomenon is so large that in many countries at the moment the immigration issue is a matter of government policy and should remain government policy," he told Polish private news channel Polsat News on Sunday.

"No country currently has the obligation to welcome immigrants. Countries have the obligation -- in accordance with international conventions -- to welcome refugees, if they arrive," he added.

Short link: