“It is understandable that countries need to take whatever measures they need to take to protect their own citizens against any forms of terrorism,” said U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
“But focusing that on refugees, vulnerable people who are themselves fleeing violence, would not be the right way to go,” he said.
At least 129 people were killed in Friday's attacks in Paris, with responsibility claimed by Daesh, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Dujarric argued that refugees “are people who are fleeing the very destruction of Daesh that we have seen in Paris.”
Although most of the seven attackers were French or Belgian nationals, a Syrian passport was found near the remains of one of the men after he detonated a suicide vest.
A French prosecutor has claimed that fingerprints from the man match those of someone who entered Europe with migrants via the Greek island of Leros.
Meanwhile, Poland's new government, led by the socially conservative Law and Justice party, appears to be reversing the policy of its predecessor, which had pledged to take in 7,000 refugees from Syria and Eritrea, as part of an EU action.
“In the face of the tragic events in Paris, Poland sees no political possibilities for implementing the decision on the relocation of refugees,” Minister for European affairs Konrad Szymański said over the weekend.
Szymański added that security guarantees need to be implemented.
President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz was among those to slam Szymański's remarks.
“When Poland feels threatened by Russia and calls for more weapons, troops and funds, Europe shows solidarity,” he argued, adding that Poland's new government is trying to palm off the refugee crisis as a German problem.
Besides Szymański, other Central and Eastern European politicians, including Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orban, have linked the Parisian attacks to refugees.
The UN's appeal was however also aimed at the US and Canada. By late Monday, the governors of over twenty US states had come out against taking Syrian refugees. Several provincial leaders in Canada voiced similar concerns, citing security as the key issue. (nh)