UN Official Shocked By Poverty, Raw Sewage, Hookworm In Alabama

Philip Alston, the U.N.’s Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, was shocked at the level of poverty during a recent tour in some areas of rural Alabama.

Alston told the Alabama Media Group:

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.

Alston toured Butler County where raw sewage flows from homes into open trenches and pits:

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. But despite great wealth in the U.S., there also exists great poverty and inequality…

Now, it’s the turn to look at what’s going on in the U.S. 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. Civilized society doesn’t say for people to go and make it on your own and if you can’t, bad luck.

Additionally, there has been an outbreak of hookworm; a disease that normally happens in nations with substandard sanitary conditions.

President Donald Trump and other Republicans, who plan to cut federal safety nets for the poor in the Tax Reform Bill, claim the U.S. is the “best country in the world” even though the U.S. has 41 million people living in poverty, per the U.S. Census Bureau.

(Sources: Alabama Media Group, U.S. Census Bureau, Photo Credit: nola.agent/Flickr)

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