The “rhetoric of fascism” is on the rise in the U.S. and Europe, a United Nations official warned on Thursday, a disturbing trend that puts “unprecedented pressure” on human rights standards around the world.
“Anti-foreigner rhetoric full of unbridled vitriol and hatred is proliferating to a frightening degree, and is increasingly unchallenged,” said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the U.N. human rights chief. “The rhetoric of fascism is no longer confined to a secret underworld of fascists, meeting in ill-lit clubs or on the ‘Deep Net.’ It is becoming part of normal daily discourse.”
Speaking ahead of International Human Rights Day on December 10, Zeid warned that “if the growing erosion of the carefully constructed system of human rights and rule of law continues to gather momentum, ultimately everyone will suffer.”
The failure of global leaders to deal with complex social issues like the massive wealth gap, discrimination, and climate change have led to growing numbers of people to turn to “the siren voices exploiting fears, sowing disinformation and division, and making alluring promises they cannot fulfill,” he said, in a nod to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.