UN Special Report Calls US Approach to Poverty 'Cruel and Inhumane'


A United Nations special report said that the United States’ principal strategy for dealing with extreme poverty is to criminalize and stigmatize those who need assistance.

The report’s lead author, UN independent expert Phillip Alston, said that more than five million Americans are living in “third world” conditions.

Alston visited California, Alabama, Georgia, West Virginia and Washington D.C. in December 2017. In a statement, Alston called the U.S. “cruel and inhuman” — referring to the 40 million people who live in poverty here even though the United States is one of the world’s wealthiest countries.

Alston said the Trump Administration has brought massive tax breaks for corporations and the very wealthy, while orchestrating a systematic assault on the welfare system. This approach, Alston said, seems to be aimed at maximizing inequality and results in forcing millions of working Americans into extreme poverty.

In a press release, he pointed to the fact that the United States now has the highest income inequality in the Western world, the highest incarceration rate in the entire world and one of the lowest turnout rates in elections among developed countries.

Alston will present the report to the UN Human Rights Council on June 21st.

Appalachia Helth News

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Marshall Health, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.