Following his tour of the United States, Philip Alston, the U.N.'s Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, relayed that Alabama has the worst poverty he has seen in the developed world.
"I think it's very uncommon in the First World. This is not a sight that one normally sees. I'd have to say that I haven't seen this," [Alston] told Connor Sheets of AL.com earlier this week as they toured a community in Butler County where "raw sewage flows from homes through exposed PVC pipes and into open trenches and pits."
Among Alston's chief considerations were diseases related to unsanitary conditions and the racial disparities related to human rights issues:
Of particular concern to Alston are specific poverty-related issues that have surfaced across the country in recent years, such as an outbreak of hookworm in Alabama in 2017—a disease typically found in nations with substandard sanitary conditions in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, as reported by The Guardian.
Economic inequality and racial discrimination have also been linked with civil rights abuses, particularly in Alabama and other states across the South. Police shootings of unarmed black men and women are also of deep concern to the U.N.