The United Nations Human Rights Office condemned United States President Donald Trump’s description of third world countries as “shithole countries”, saying such comments were undeniably racist.
“If they are confirmed, the comments from the president of the United States are outrageous and shameful, I'm sorry, but There is no other word one can use but racist,” said the UN human rights spokesman, Rupert Colville. “You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’, whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome.”
While attending a session in the Oval Office Thursday, the president asked senators, why they would want “all these people from ‘shithole’ countries coming here,” the Washington Post reports.
Trump has denied these allegations, though White House spokesperson Raj Shah has not. Shah avoided the issue entirely by merely stating the president's actions as a means to search out avenues to “make our country stronger” via economically stable immigration policies.
Some politicians and international organizations, such as former Mexican president Vicente Fox, El Salvador´s president Salvador Sánchez and the African Union, have responded Trump’s comment, pointing out that America's "greatness" was built on diversity and immigration.
Journalist across the board have also joined the discussion.
Latino journalist Julio Ricardo Varela responded to Trump by reminding him of the U.S.'s role in regional crisis and instability. "Last time I checked, the USA has an amazing ability to create shitholes," Varela said, referring to Washington's role in Central America and recent rejection of Salvadoran immigrants.
However, the journalist's comment hit close to home with a recent UN report testifying to soaring poverty levels in the rural sectors or the “black belt” of US southern state of Alabama, which struggles with what the UN claims are the worst conditions of poverty in the developed world.
“Lowndes County in rural #Alabama I saw homes that are not connected to public sewage systems, whose owners can't afford to install septic tanks. Many resorts to digging ditches & straight piping wastewater to within meters of homes, posing serious health risks. #USAPoverty” wrote UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston on his official Twitter account.
According to the report, diseases related to poverty and poor sanitation such as E Coli and hookworm run rampant.
"We can't prevent people from getting re-infected until they deal with their sewage problem," said George Washington University’s hookworm expert Dr. David Diemert, adding that with an average annual income stuck at $18, 036 and the cost of a home septic system at $15,000, without government aid, the situation will only grow worse.
According to infectious disease specialist Dr Rojelio Mejia, the region and other impoverished communities around the US subject to poor sanitation are at risk for “neglected tropical diseases."
"In my study, we have a very poor, disenfranchised population here that is being neglected," Mejia says. "Everybody was African American and living below the poverty line."
Apparently, according to these experts, the US is not the only nation tolerating immigrants from shithole countries.