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GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. human rights chief warned Wednesday of rising hatred and discrimination around the world in a “mega election year” and urged voters to consider the rights of others when casting their ballots.

Volker Türk made this call ahead of important elections in countries such as France and Britain this week, and in the US and Germany later this year. Immigrants, refugees and other foreigners have become “scapegoats” for some political parties, he said.

“I am always concerned when I hear narratives that denigrate others, that dehumanize others, that scapegoat migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and minority groups,” Türk said.

He condemned the “politics of distraction” and said political leaders must stand up against the discourse of hate.

“History teaches us, especially in Europe, that denigrating the other, that belittling the other is a harbinger of something even worse,” he said. “That is an alarm bell that we must ring.”

“Especially in this year, the mega election year,” he noted, the United States, India, Europe and other countries have experienced election periods “that have often led to a language of hatred and dehumanization of the other.”

In general, he stressed that there must be “zero tolerance” towards hate speech and rejected all attempts to denigrate “the others”.