World leaders react to Donald Trump’s immigration ban

World leaders are reacting to President Trump's sweeping immigration order. Source: AAP

Prominent leaders from around the world have registered their concern, though several have declined to comment.

As US President Donald Trump’s immigration order sparked days of chaos in airports, political leaders from around the world have voiced their thoughts on the controversial policy.

Leaders from New Zealand, the UK, Germany, Indonesia, the Netherlands, France, Sweden and Switzerland have criticised the move.

Leaders from the Czech Republic, Australia and Italy have declined to weigh in on the policy.

Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said the European Union, having put up its own barriers, was in no position to judge President Trump's immigration decrees.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said it was “not his job” to comment.

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Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

“It is not my job as Prime Minister of Australia to run a commentary on the domestic policies of other countries,” Mr Turnbull said.

“We've got very strong systems – that is a fact. We're proud of those and we'll maintain them and where we can, we will enhance them,” he said, noting that Australia’s border security policies were “the envy of the world”.

On Tuesday morning, in a Sky News interview, the Prime Minister again refused to comment. 

“My job as Prime Minister of Australia is to advance the national interest of Australia and protect the interests of Australian citizens. That's my job. And so when I need to give frank advice, fearless advice to the United States government, I do so privately," he said.

The Prime Minister confirmed that Australia has joined the UK and Canada in being granted an exemption to the order for its dual nationals.

New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English

“We are not being meek at all,” Prime Minister English told reporters.

“President Trump has got to deal with his own issues and his own election promises. We don't agree with the policy.

“We have yet to see just what turns out to be the long-term policy for the US because this is a temporary measure.”

Bill English
“We are not being meek at all,” New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English told reporters.

British Prime Minister Theresa May

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," her spokesman 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."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Chancellor Merkel accused the United States of unfairly targeting Muslims.

"The essential and also resolute fight against terrorism in no way justifies general suspicion against people of a specific faith, in this case people of the Muslim faith, or people of a certain background," she said.

A spokesman said the German Chancellor regrets the entry ban.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Trudeau did not directly criticise Trump, but did issue this tweet:

The tweet was followed by another 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.

Indonesian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir

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."

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who last week said people who refuse to assimilate to Dutch values should leave the country, 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 politician currently riding high in the polls with his far-right Freedom Party, tweeted on 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."

French President Francois Hollande

President Hollande says he told his US counterpart in a call that “faced with an unstable and uncertain world, withdrawal into oneself is a dead-end response.”

Defending democratic principles required compliance with “the principles on which it is founded, in particular the acceptance of refugee,” he said.

Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said that “welcoming refugees who are fleeing war is part of our duty.”

The top diplomat emphasised fairness and solidarity when it came to refugees, noting that “this decision can only cause us concern.”

French President Francois Hollande
French President Francois Hollande has warned Donald Trump against the consequences of his economic and immigration policies.

European Union Foreign Affairs Representative Federica Mogherini

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."

Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano

Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said the European Union, having put up its own barriers, was in no position to judge Trump's immigration decrees.

“[Europe] is not in a good position to give opinions about the choices of others. Or is it that we want to forget that we too erect walls in Europe," Mr Alfano said.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom

The 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." 

Swiss Foreign Affairs Minister Didier Burkhalter

Trump's decision is "wrong", Minister 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."

Mr Burkhalter 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.

Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek

"When you live in a house you have the right to decide who to accept, who to host, and if you arrive at the conclusion that someone poses a security risk this decision is up to you," Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said.

"This is something that only the Americans can decide and we can hardly advise them on this."

Hundreds demonstrate at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX
Hundreds demonstrate at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid bin Ra'ad al-Hussein

The travel ban is illegal and "mean-spirited", said the UN's human rights chief.

Zeid bin Ra'ad tweeted that "discrimination on nationality alone is forbidden under human rights law", adding that "the US ban is also mean-spirited and wastes resources needed for proper counter-terrorism."

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation said the travel ban would strengthen the position of extremists worldwide.

"Such selective and discriminatory acts will only serve to embolden the radical narratives of extremists and will provide further fuel to the advocates of violence and terrorism," the group said.

Yemeni Government

Yemen warned President Trump's order would encourage global "extremism".

"Yemen expresses its dissatisfaction after the order prohibiting, even for a limited time, the entry to the United States of people holding a Yemeni passport," a government spokesman said.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari

"We reject... the decision to prevent the reception of Iraqis in the United States of America, and call for its review," Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari told the US ambassador to Baghdad.

Parliament voted to call on the Baghdad government to enact a reciprocal travel ban on Americans if Washington does not withdraw its decision to bar Iraqis.

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