Merkel slams Trump travel ban, cites Geneva convention

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Michael Sohn, AP)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Michael Sohn, AP)

Berlin - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday slammed the restrictions on immigration imposed by US President Donald Trump, saying it was "not justified" to target people based on their background or religion.

Her spokesperson said Merkel had raised the issue in a telephone call with Trump on Saturday, reminding him of obligations under international human rights law.

"The chancellor regrets the entry ban imposed by the US government against refugees and nationals from certain countries," spokesperson Steffen Seibert said in a statement.

"She is convinced that even in the necessarily resolute battle against terrorism it is not justified to place people from a certain origin or belief under general suspicion."

The German government "will now examine the consequences" of the ban for German citizens with dual nationality, he added.

Trump has caused consternation at home and abroad after signing a sweeping executive order on Friday suspending refugee arrivals and barring visas for travellers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for the next three months.

A federal US judge on Saturday blocked part of the ban, ordering authorities to stop deporting refugees and other travellers stuck at US airports.

Merkel's condemnation comes a day after she spoke by phone with the new US president, when they discussed a range of issues from relations with Russia to the situation in the Middle East and NATO.

Statements released by both sides after the call made no mention of the immigration ban, but Seibert on Sunday said Merkel had reminded the US billionaire of his human rights responsibilities.

"The Geneva Refugee Convention calls on the international community to take in war refugees on humanitarian grounds," he said.

"The chancellor stressed this policy in yesterday's phone call with the US president."

- 'Unacceptable' -

In an interview with European media earlier this month, Trump said Merkel had made a "catastrophic mistake" in allowing a record number of migrants into Germany.

More than a million people, including hundreds of thousands from war-torn Syria, have arrived in Germany since the chancellor opened the country's doors to those fleeing conflict and persecution in 2015.

Although the number of arrivals has slowed significantly in recent months, concern over the influx has fuelled support for the rightwing, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

Trump also came under fire Sunday from former European Parliament president Martin Schulz, who is running against Merkel for Germany's Social Democrats in a September general election.

Trump's "outrageous and dangerous" comments about women, religious communities and minority groups were "unacceptable", he said.

But not all German politicians condemned the US leader.

Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer, a Merkel ally but also one of her strongest critics on immigration, praised Trump for sticking to his campaign pledges.

"He is implementing his campaign promises one by one with consistency and speed," Seehofer told Germany's bestselling Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

Seehofer added however that he did not agree with all of Trump's decisions.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When assisting your child with remote learning this year, did you:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Follow the school's comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) curriculum?
13% - 143 votes
Adjust the CSE curriculum to suit the family's morals?
24% - 265 votes
Ignore the schools CSE programme and do your own teaching?
63% - 708 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.27
(-0.30)
ZAR/GBP
20.38
(-0.37)
ZAR/EUR
18.28
(-0.24)
ZAR/AUD
11.27
(+0.02)
ZAR/JPY
0.15
(-0.41)
Gold
1775.17
(-0.62)
Silver
22.15
(-2.08)
Platinum
955.00
(-0.84)
Brent Crude
47.90
(0.00)
Palladium
2396.52
(-0.63)
All Share
57822.50
(-0.17)
Top 40
53021.58
(-0.12)
Financial 15
11577.71
(-0.58)
Industrial 25
79894.95
(-0.12)
Resource 10
52804.55
(+0.03)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo