"I think it's very uncommon in the First World. This is not a sight that one normally sees. I'd have to say that I haven't seen this," Philip Alston, the U.N.'s Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, told Connor Sheets of AL.com earlier this week as they toured a community in Butler County where raw sewage flows from homes through exposed PVC pipes and into open trenches and pits.
By many accounts, poverty in the U.S. is worse than in most developed nations, despite rhetoric espoused by President Donald Trump and others who claim that the U.S. is the "best country in the world."
According to the Census Bureau, nearly 41 million people in the U.S. live in poverty. That's second-highest rate of poverty among rich countries, as measured by the percentage of people earning less than half the national median income, according to Quartz.
“Some might ask why a U.N. Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights would visit a country as rich as the United States," Alston said. "But despite great wealth in the U.S., there also exists great poverty and inequality.”
Alston also pointed out that the U.S. "has been very keen" on other countries being investigated by the U.N. for civil and human rights issues.
"Now, it's the turn to look at what's going on in the U.S.," Alston said. "There are pretty extreme levels of poverty in the United States given the wealth of the country. And that does have significant human rights implications.”
“The idea of human rights is that people have basic dignity and that it’s the role of the government — yes, the government! — to ensure that no one falls below the decent level,” he said. “Civilized society doesn’t say for people to go and make it on your own and if you can’t, bad luck.”
“Politicians who say, ‘there’s nothing I can do about that’ are simply wrong,” Alston told WKMS 91.3 FM, a public radio station in Ohio near one of the other sites under investigation by the U.N.
Sunday, December 10, 2017
Advent 2017: And also....
Advent is about preparation, both spiritual and physical. One is not separated from the other. Religion is not a purely private concern. It is responsibility. "Religion is responsibility, or it is nothing at all."--Jacques Derrida
Posted by Rmj at 1:35 PM