Saturday 18 August 2018

Trump has made this a 'very dangerous time' - Mary Robinson

Mrs Robinson, who was UN high commissioner for human rights from 1997 to 2002. Photo: Damien Eagers
Mrs Robinson, who was UN high commissioner for human rights from 1997 to 2002. Photo: Damien Eagers
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

The world is facing into a "very dangerous time" because of Donald Trump's attitude, former president Mary Robinson has said.

Mrs Robinson, who was UN high commissioner for human rights from 1997 to 2002, said there was "a gasp of dismay" during the US president's recent speech to the UN General Assembly.

Mr Trump told world leaders he could "totally destroy" North Korea and sought to antagonise Kim Jong-un by describing him as "Rocket Man".

Mrs Robinson said that in her 20 years of attending the UN General Assembly, she has "never known a more fractious and more tension-filled United Nations". She said the US president's contribution was "terrible" and "in effect said he could obliterate the North Korean people".

"There was a gasp of dismay when that happened. I heard one remark that he actually had sullied the United Nations because it's the home of peace, security and development for the world," Mrs Robinson said.

Speaking on RTÉ's 'This Week' programme, she also criticised Mr Trump's stance on the Iranian nuclear deal, saying he has "threatened to jettison" it despite only being one partner to the agreement.

"Now Iran has fired a missile because they are worried about their situation, if an agreement they had forged with six partners is going to be breached."

Mrs Robinson cited an editorial in the 'New York Times' which claimed Mr Trump was squandering the world's trust.

The article says the most immediate consequence of reneging on the Iran deal is that it will make it "even harder, if not impossible, for the president to negotiate a peaceful resolution of the crisis over North Korea's nuclear weapons programme".

"The North's leader, Kim Jong-un, is erratic and frightening, but why would it help matters to eliminate any confidence Mr Kim might have in Mr Trump's word?"

Mrs Robinson went on to say: "This is a very dangerous time."

She said the US president's address to the UN came against the "humanitarian backdrop" of devastation in the Caribbean islands which have been hit by recent hurricanes.

Mrs Robinson said she had seen "a single tweet" about the plight of people in the region, including the US territory of Puerto Rico.

"It really is a very shocking time," she said.

Mrs Robinson also spoke about the situation facing hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar to Bangladesh. She criticised the defacto leader of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi's failure to condemn the crisis. Ms Suu Kyi is a former Nobel Prize winner and has the freedom of Dublin.

Irish Independent

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