“Some are more equal than others”

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday denounced the global attention given to the war in Ukraine, adding that it left it “unclear”.

Speaking from the security of the WHO’s world headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the BBC reports that he asked the world to pay “equal attention to the lives of black and white people” by pledging the same way into conflicts that are devouring his native Ethiopia, as well as Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria.

To do anything else is racist, Tedros said.

“I don’t know if the world really pays the same attention to black and white lives,” he said. “I said this last week: all the attention to Ukraine is very important, of course, because it has an impact on the whole world, but [not] even a fraction of it is given to Tigray, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria and others.

Last month, Tedros speculated “nowhere on earth is the health of millions more at risk” than Ethiopia’s Tigray region.

He also criticized the press for what he said was its failure to document ongoing atrocities in Ethiopia, noting that people had been burned to death in the region in summary executions.

“I don’t even know if it was taken seriously by the media,” he said.

“And I have to be upfront and honest about the fact that the world doesn’t treat the human race the same way,” he added on Wednesday. “Some are more equal than others. And when I say that, it hurts me. Because I see it.

Tedros then highlighted the situation in Ukraine in the 50 days following the Russian invasion on February 24.

“During this period, 4.6 million refugees left the country,” he said. “Thousands of civilians died, including children. There have been 119 verified attacks on healthcare. Health services continue to be severely disrupted, particularly in the east of the country.

“For the sake of humanity, I urge Russia to come back to the table and work for peace. In the meantime, humanitarian corridors must be established so that medical supplies, food and water can be delivered and that civilians can get to safety,” Tedros said.

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