Photo: Luiz Rampelotto/EuropaNewswire
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said recent measures to ban the entry of refugees and migrants from seven countries to the United States violated “our basic principles” and were “not effective if the objective is to really avoid terrorists” from entering the country.
Speaking to reporters in New York today (01 Feb), Guterres appealed to US authorities to remove the restrictions “sooner rather than later” adding that the world faced sophisticated terrorist organizations which were not likely to use operatives with passports from countries that were hot spots of conflict. He said, “When we adopt measures that spread anxiety and anger, we help trigger the kind of recruitment mechanisms that these organizations are now doing everywhere in the world.”
Asked about fears regarding threats made by some officials to cut US funding and US pharmacies to the UN, Guterres said he would not “be making comments on possibilities to enhance the possibilities to possibly be a reality.” He said he would do everything possible to “prove the added value of the UN, to recognize the UN needs reforms, to be totally committed to those reforms, and to believe that those reforms will be the best way to guarantee the support of all Member States including the United States of America and its new administration.”
The Secretary-General said he didn’t know exactly what was meant by “safe zones” in Syria in response to a question, but the UN had “nothing against the creation of areas where people can live in safety.” However, he stressed such zones could “never undermine the right to seek asylum” and history showed that safe zones could sometimes be “tragic” adding “Srebrenica was a safe zone.”