UNITED NATIONS (FinalCall.com) – After a visit to America Oct. 23 – Nov. 8, an independent United Nations human rights expert concluded that the problems facing poor people, ranging from the high cost of health care to lack of low-cost housing, could be seen as a human rights abuse.
Dr. Arjun Sengupta, independent expert of the UN Commission on Human Rights on the question of human rights and extreme poverty, at the invitation of the American government, visited Jackson, Miss., and the Delta Region, where he heard testimonies on the poverty faced by many Blacks. He also visited the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky where, according to his statement issued from Geneva, Switzerland, he saw similar poverty affecting a mainly White population.
“Resource constraints have limited the reach of assistance programs; and social discrimination has aggravated the problems in many situations resulting in poverty, which can be clearly seen as a violation of human rights,” Dr. Sengupta declared in his statement.
The UN independent expert also noted that, if the United States government “designed and implemented the policies according to human rights standards, much of the problem of poverty could be resolved.”
In the announcement by the UN, of Dr. Sengupta’s visit to the U.S., it was noted that by choosing to come here he wanted to illustrate that extreme poverty is a societal problem irrespective of the level of income of a nation; and is not only a problem of poor developing nations, but a phenomenon that is found in most nations in the world.
“The case of the United States is particularly interesting, as it presented an apparent paradox: As the wealthiest country on earth, with higher per capita income levels than any other country, the United States also has one of the highest incidences of poverty among the rich industrialized nations,” the statement said.
The official statistics released in the UN expert’s statement showed that 12.7 percent (or 37 million) of the population lived in poverty in 2004, while 15.7 percent (45.8 million) were without health insurance and 11.9 percent of households (38.2 million people, including 13.9 million children) experienced food insecurity.
The statistics in the expert’s statement also showed, what it termed, “a significant disparity” in poverty between Blacks (24.7 percent), Latinos (21.9 percent) and non-Hispanic Whites (8.6 percent). “Moreover, despite the overall U.S. economic recovery, the incidence of poverty, including food insecurity and homelessness had been on the rise over the past years,” the statement added.
Dr. Sengupta also toured New York urban areas and visited immigrant farm workers in Florida. In Washington, D.C., he met various officials from civil society organizations.
There is another report circulating in the UN, about U.S. policies from China entitled, “The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2004” by the Information Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, dated March 3, 2005.
On February 28 of this year, the State Department of the United States once again posed as the “world’s human rights police” and released its “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2004.”
As in previous years, the reports pointed at human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions (including China) but kept silent on the U.S. misdeeds in this field. “Therefore, the world people have to probe the human rights record behind the Statue of Liberty in the United States,” the PRC report stated in its opening paragraph.
“Black people not only have fewer job opportunities, but also earn less than White people. Even on the same job, a Black man only earns 70 percent of what a white man earns. Regions such as California, where immigrants make up a larger proportion of the local population, their communities are traps of death. Mexican laborers who have come to work in the United States have a mortality rate as high as 80 percent,” the report said.
The report further pointed out: “The Declaration of Independence said all men are created equal, so the gap between Black and White people is simply an insult to the founding essence of the United States.”