UN demands European tolerance towards immigrants

The UN chief warns of the danger posed by a new policy of polarisation.

Strasbourg: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon demanded tolerance from Europe towards immigrants and warned of the danger posed by a new policy of polarisation.

In a speech before the European Parliament, Ban said that some people were playing with the fear of people and accusing foreigners of violating European values.

It is the accusers who often attack those values, and with it, the very idea of what it means to be a citizen of the Union, he added.

The darkest chapters in history were written in that language, said Ban, who added that the main target is the Muslim population.

The world cannot allow Europe to act that way, he said.

The UN chief lamented that the situation had not improved since 2003, when his predecessor Kofi Annan urged UN members to take advantage of the immigration boom rather than demonise it.

"I would like to say that the situation has changed, but I am deeply concerned," said Ban.

Also yesterday before the European Council, the UN Secretary General deplored that immigration and economic slowdown were triggering an ever increasing anxiety and serving as a pretext to implement policies of exclusion and discrimination.