Ireland's most celebrated international figure, Peter Sutherland, has carried out a strident verbal condemnation of Donald Trump’s latest call for action against radical Islam.

Sutherland, United Nations special representative on migration, described Trump’s comments on Muslim emigrants as “utterly disgraceful” and contrary to the charter of the UN.

Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, proposed an ideological purity test to screen out immigrants with sympathies toward radical Islam in a sharp escalation of what he claimed is a religious war with the west. He also proposed refusing entry to people from certain countries.

Sutherland told RTE that it was “utterly disgraceful” to say someone fleeing from persecution is not acceptable because they’re Muslim.

“It is utterly disgraceful and contrary to the charter of the UN. We should be worried about human lives. This year more 3,000 are dead trying to flee across the Mediterranean,” Sutherland said.

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Sutherland’s attack on Trump is bound to attract international attention. He is a former EU commissioner, former chairman of global investment bankers Goldman Sachs International and of oil giant BP, and was founding director-general of the World Trade Organization.

Among the 70-year-old’s numerous awards, he was European Person of the Year in 1988.

Sutherland was commenting following the agreement of a draft UN declaration on the refugee and migrant crisis which will be discussed when world leaders gather at the United Nations next month.

“The mere fact that we’ve got to the stage where 193 countries have, in effect, agreed a draft of what will come out of the summit, is a bit of an achievement. Ten years ago when I started out on the migration trail some countries would not even discuss the topic in a multi lateral setting,” he said.

“If this doesn’t have real teeth and have a real effect then as a generation we will have failed to deal with the biggest challenge of our time.

“I think it potentially has real teeth, but at the end of the day we need to get specific commitments – some countries are stepping up to the plate – Germany, Sweden, Canada.”

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Peter Sutherland, United Nations special representative on migration.RollingNews