Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization/Photo: WHO

Ukraine: Why WHO chief criticises unequal attention to world conflicts

The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has criticised the unequal attention paid to crises in the world. While the focus of international media is beamed on Ukraine other conflicts continue to rage without attention being paid to them, he says.

In the opinion of the Ethiopian diplomat, the world does not give equal attention to the suffering affecting black and white people and that only a fraction of the help being given to Ukraine goes to other humanitarian crises in the world.

Assisting Ukraine is “very important” because it “impacts the whole world”, he said.

Belin Welcome Hall in fron of the main entrance of the Berlin central train station. Refugees support groups say the support enjoyed by Ukrainian refugees should be extended to refugees from other parts of the world/Photo: AfricanCourierMedia

But Tigray province in Ethiopia, or Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria are not receiving the same attention, he added. “I don’t know if the world really gives equal attention to black and white lives,” Mr Tedros told a news conference.

The bold statement made by the WHO chief seeks to again draw attention to the war in the Ethiopian province of Tigray, where he hails from, and where hundreds of thousands of refugees lack direly needed humanitarian support.

Tedros, who has served as foreign minister and minister of health of his country, has accused the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of committing genocide against the Tigrayans, an allegation that the Ethiopian government has repeatedly rejected.

Tedros has been criticised by his home government of using his position as WHO chief to seek international support for his Tigray province.

Refugee support groups in Europe have also criticised the fact that the generous treatment accorded refugees from Ukraine are denied those from conflicts in Africa and Asia. While people fleeing the war in Ukraine are allowed to enter European Union without visa and are free to move around in the bloc every effort is made to prevent those from other regions from coming to Europe, critics say.

Adira Kallo

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