WHO chief accuses world of double standards over response to crises

Thursday April 14 2022
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the WHO headquarters in Geneva on March 09, 2020. PHOTO | FABRICE COFFRINI | AFP


The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday accused the international community of double standards in response to crises affecting various races.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the world was treating humanitarian crises affecting black and white lives unequally, with only a “fraction” of the attention on Ukraine given elsewhere.

He said more focus has been given on the war in Ukraine while crises elsewhere, including in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, are not being taken as seriously and hoped the international community “comes back to its senses”.

The conflict in Tigray, a region in northern Ethiopia, began in November 2020 and has to thousands killed, injured or displaced from their homes. Human rights abuses have been reported in the conflict as well as humanitarian crisis with thousands in need of food and medical aid.

“I don't know if the world really gives equal attention to black and white lives,” Tedros told a news conference.

“The whole attention to Ukraine is very important of course, because it impacts the whole world.


“But even a fraction of it is not being given to Tigray, Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria and the rest.

“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. And when I say this, it pains me. Because I see it. Very difficult to accept but it's happening.”