Income inequality and disparities in access to resources are factors that pose serious threats to human rights across the globe and have already sparked violent protests in some countries, a top United Nations official said Wednesday.

Speaking in Geneva, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet referred to recent protests in Sudan, Haiti and France as examples of how disparities “in income, wealth, access to resources and access to justice constitute fundamental challenges to the principles of equality, dignity and human rights for every human being.”

Bachelet blamed poor governance for those problems.

She also warned against the “existential threat” of xenophobia and called on Saudi Arabia to release women’s rights activists.

Protests erupted in Sudan in December over cuts in subsidies to fuel and bread. They quickly morphed into calls for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to step down.

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