During a two-day summit, the head of the African Union used her platform to lay down a sharp but poignant criticism of President Donald Trump’s executive action that bars immigration from several Muslim-majority countries, The Independent reports.
“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 Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Dlamini-Zuma made the statement in front of representatives of the 53 Union member states in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.
She went on to say Trump’s election to office signaled the beginning of “very troubled times,” and challenged her peers to find a solution.
The medical doctor turned anti-apartheid activist has held several high-ranking positions in South Africa’s government, actively fighting for the disenfranchised during her lengthy political career. This week’s meeting marked her last as the head of the AU. According to BBC, she will return to South Africa to run for a leadership role in the African National Congress, South Africa’s governing democratic political party.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who was also in attendance, reaffirmed Africa’s storied history as a welcoming nation to enthusiastic applause.
“African borders remain open for those in need of protection when so many borders are being closed, even in the most developed countries in the world,” Guterres said.