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governmentNovember 16, 2021

Government is in fantasy land said UN rapporteur on poverty

No sense of urgency for a crisis that has brutally impoverished people

Lebanese government officials are in a fantasy land,” said Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, at the end of a two-week mission studying poverty in Lebanon.

De Schutter said that officials have no sense of urgency and are not taking responsibility for an economic crisis that has “brutally impoverished” the population.

“I’m very struck by the fact that this is a state that, if it is not failed yet, is failing and that the needs of the population are still not addressed,” he said.

De Schutter met with top officials including nine ministers, the Prime Minister and Parliament Speaker during his visit.

De Schutter said he would recommend the immediate implementation of social protection programs held up for months, an increase to the minimum wage, and a wealth tax to combat world-leading inequality rates.

De Schutter said that, while Pope John Paul II once referred to Lebanon as a “message” of sectarian coexistence, it had since become “a warning for the world” on the outcomes of “a very unhealthy alliance between very wealthy businessmen and political elites.”

His final report will be published in early 2022.