Tuesday 21 November 2017

'We must stand up to bullies' - Mary Robinson on Trump's immigration policies

Former President Mary Robinson. Photo: Frank McGrath
Former President Mary Robinson. Photo: Frank McGrath
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Former President of Ireland and human rights campaigner Mary Robinson has said the world must stand up to Donald Trump, whom she branded a “bully”.

Ms Robinson, who is a member of independent global leaders group The Elders, said they are extremely concerned about a number of orders introduced by Trump since he was inaugurated.

“He’s got a big ego, as we know… and he’s a bit of a bully.  And you have to stand up to bullies,” she said.

Ms Robinson said she believed Trump would be influenced by reaction from the public to his policies.

She spoke to RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland about the orders halting the entry of all refugees and banning immigrants from seven Muslim majority countries.

The Trump administration has insisted the restrictions are designed to allow the Government time to draw up “extreme vetting” measures.

However, Ms Robinson said during her work with the Elders group she had witnessed “extreme vetting” of all refugees in New York. 

“The trouble is that this ban on all refugees from Syria and the ban on seven largely Muslim countries has really upset a balance globally. As well, it’s very un-American,” she said.

“We saw the extreme vetting of all refugees including those coming from Syria so the idea that you have a global ban now at a time when Syria really flexible support and allowing in of refugees

“This issue is being discussed at the international level more seriously than I ever remember. Last Sept there was a major meeting on refugees and mass migration and the world committed itself to two global contracts, one on migration one on refugees,” she added.

“This executive order cuts through all of that in a way that’s very disturbing.”

When reminded that Trump campaigned on many of the issues he was not taking steps to address, Ms Robinson said it was “chilling” to watch his campaign promises come to fruition.

“I think a lot of people believed what he was saying was just to gain votes. It is chilling that so much of it is now becoming a reality… it is also worrying because it’s not going to make America safer,” she added.

“I certainly think that they are anti-Muslim,” she said.

Ms Robinson also said the Elders group were concerned about the so-called ‘gag rule’ executive order which relates to access to maternity and health-care which was also signed by President Trump.

Ms Robinson refused to be drawn on whether Taoiseach Enda Kenny should travel to the White House in March to meet with the US President as per tradition.

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