Leaders from around the world have spoken out almost in unison to condemn US President Donald Trump’s ban on immigrants and refugees this weekend.

Trump signed an executive order Friday night implementing an immediate ban on all Syrian refugees entering the US as well as all immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries including Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Syria for 120 days while the administration implements more “extreme vetting” measures. Refugees from all countries won’t be allowed to enter for 90 days.

Global Citizen is taking action to ask President Trump to reverse the ban immediately, and calling on legislators to overturn the order. And we’re not the only ones: from Germany’s Angela Merkel to Sudan’s foreign ministry, global leaders have criticized the discriminatory way the ban affects individuals based on nationality and religion.

TAKE ACTION: Reverse President Trump’s Executive Order to Ban Refugees

Here are the reactions from around the world:


Angela Merkel didn’t just release a statement saying she disagreed with Trump, she picked up the phone and called him. According to her office, Merkel called the White House Saturday to “explain” the requirements the US has to refugees as a signatory of the Geneva convention.

In the statement, Merkel also said she “deeply regrets” Trump’s decision and said the fight against terrorism does not justify targeting people of certain nationalities or beliefs.


President François Hollande called the new law a “dead end response” to an “unstable and uncertain world” while the Foreign Minister of France, Jean-Marc Ayrault, said that “discrimination is not an answer” to terrorism and that accepting refugees is a “duty of solidarity.”


Italy’s prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, tweeted that his country was against the ban and open to refugees: “Open society; plural identity; no discrimination.”


Just hours after British Prime Minister Theresa May stood with Trump at the White House and celebrated the “special relationship” between the UK and US Friday afternoon, Trump signed the Muslim ban.

While Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, a key figure in the Brexit movement, quickly condemned the ban as “divisive and wrong,” May refused to condemn the action when asked on Saturday at a press conference. Late Saturday night her administration released a statement saying the British government does “not agree” with the ban, though it made sure to say the US had the right to make its own immigration policy.

The UN

The United Nations refugee agency and the International Organization for Migration released a joint statement Saturday reiterating that ”refugees should receive equal treatment for protection and assistance, and opportunities for resettlement, regardless of their religion, nationality or race.”


Australia, known for its strict refugee policy, reiterated the importance of every country being able to determine its own immigration policies. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stressed  "the importance of border security and the threat of illegal and irregular migration."


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been an outspoken voice in support of refugees and made a point this weekend of welcoming refugees and “those fleeing persecution, terror & war” to Canada.

African Union

As the African Union met this week for a two-day summit, the head of the coalition, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, released a strongly-worded statement criticizing the ban.

“The very country to which many of our people were taken as slaves during the transatlantic slave trade has now decided to ban refugees from some of our countries,” said Dlamini-Zuma. “What do we do about this? Indeed, this is one of the greatest challenges to our unity and solidarity.”


Turkey, a Muslim-majority country on the border of Syria, said that it welcomes refugees and would be happy to accept those rejected from the US.


In response to the ban Yemen's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Abdel-Malak al-Mekhlafi said the executive order "supports the terrorists and sows divisions among people," and was not justified.


Sudan was also critical of the ban affecting its citizens, releasing a lengthy statement saying that Sudanese citizens in the US are “known for their good reputation, respect for American laws, and their lack of involvement in radical and criminal acts.”  


The leadership of Iran said that “reciprocal measures” would be taken in response to Trump’s “insulting” ban on Iranian citizens coming into the US.


Iraq also considered taking retaliatory action against the US, with the Iraqi parliament proposing a ban on visas for all Americans, including journalists.  


Demand Equity

World Leaders Condemn Trump’s Ban on Muslim-Majority Countries

By Colleen Curry