UN rights boss calls on Britain to prevent xenophobic abuse after Brexit vote

June 28, 2016 17:00

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights urged Britain on Tuesday to act to prevent further incidents of xenophobic abuse in the wake of the vote to leave the European Union, and to prosecute perpetrators.

Polish and Muslim leaders in Britain have expressed concern about a spate of racially motivated hate crimes following last week's Brexit referendum, in which immigration was a key issue.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN rights boss, said in a statement that he was deeply concerned by reports of abuse targeting minority communities and foreigners in Britain.

"Racism and xenophobia are completely, totally and utterly unacceptable in any circumstances," Zeid said.

Police said offensive leaflets targeting Poles had been distributed in a town in central England, and graffiti had been daubed on a Polish cultural center in London on Sunday, three days after the vote, while Islamic groups have reported a sharp rise in incidents against Muslims.

Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the attacks on Monday in parliament and said he had spoken to his Polish counterpart Beata Szydlo to express his concern and to reassure her that Poles in Britain would be protected.

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