Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Science & Tech
  2. Coronavirus
22 April 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

UN accuses world leaders of “social Darwinism“ over coronavirus response

By Samuel Horti

The United Nations has issued a scathing attack on world leaders’ responses to the coronavirus crisis, accusing them of overseeing a “moral failing of epic proportions” by prioritising the wealthy over those that need help most.

“The policies of many states reflect a social Darwinism philosophy,” the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, said today. “Despite often far-reaching policy reversals and huge financial support packages, the most vulnerable have been short-changed or excluded.”

Governments have shut down their countries “without making even minimal efforts to ensure people can get by”, Alston said. “In a moral failing of epic proportions, most states are doing all too little to protect those most vulnerable to this pandemic.”

He said that policies such as direct cash payments to citizens, the suspension of evictions and paying the wages of furloughed employees had mostly been “utterly inadequate”, and that the “most vulnerable populations have been neglected”.

“This is cruel, inhumane and self-defeating, since it forces them to continue working in unsafe conditions, putting everyone’s health at risk.”

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy