WHO head: World’s focus on Ukraine over other countries is due to racial bias

  • In a virtual press briefing from Geneva on Wednesday, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia and current World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus accused the international community of racial bias, claiming far less attention was being paid to crises in places like Africa and the Middle East versus Ukraine.
  • “I need to be blunt and honest that the world is not treating the human race the same way,” he said solemnly. “Some are more equal than others. And when I say this, it pains me. Because I see it. Very difficult to accept – but it’s happening.”
  • The WHO head cited the crises of Ethiopia, where he is originally from, Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria, as also requiring immediate attention.
  • Combined, over 66.6 million people are considered in desperate need of humanitarian aid in those four countries alone, not including the millions who have already fled.
  • The Ukraine crisis has displaced approximately 6.5 million people within the country, with over 4 million having crossed the border to neighboring countries such as Poland and Hungary.
  • Ghebreyesus was especially critical of the media for giving a disproportionate amount of coverage to the Ukrainian crisis and called for the need for “balance” in considering all lives as “precious” in spite of race and ethnicity.

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia and current World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus accused the world of giving just a “fraction” of its attention to Black lives compared to white. 

In a virtual press briefing from Geneva on Wednesday, Ghebreyesus called out the world for racial bias, claiming it valued Ukrainian lives over those in other parts of the world, especially Africa and the Middle East.

“I need to be blunt and honest that the world is not treating the human race the same way. Some are more equal than others,” he said solemnly, referencing a line from George Orwell’s allegorical “Animal Farm.” “And when I say this, it pains me. Because I see it. Very difficult to accept – but it’s happening.”

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The WHO head cited the crises of Ethiopia (5.5 million people), where he is originally from, Yemen (23.7 million people), Afghanistan (22.8 million people) and Syria (14.6 million), as also requiring and deserving of immediate attention. 

Combined, over 66.6 million people are considered by WHO to be in desperate need of humanitarian aid in those four countries alone, not including the millions of people who have fled and sought refuge in other parts of the world. 

The Ukraine crisis has displaced approximately 6.5 million people within the country, with over 4 million crossing the border to neighboring countries such as Poland and Hungary. 

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Ghebreyesus was especially critical of the media, whom he considered responsible for failing to report on the ongoing emergencies in Africa and the Middle East. He cited atrocities in Ethiopia, including people being burned alive and starved. According to the United Nations, more than 400,000 people in the northern city of Tigray are living in “famine-line conditions.” 

He called for the need for “balance” in considering all lives as “precious” in spite of race and ethnicity. 

 

Featured Image via World Health Organization (WHO)

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