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Jesuits see G8 summit as lost opportunity for refugees

The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) has said that steps vital for the future of Africa which could have helped resolve the refugee crisis in many countries did not get approval at the G8 summit.

"The results are disappointing and much more was needed," said JRS Europe director Fr John Dardis. "Europe is prepared to spend billions of euros on control of its borders but can't find the money to address the root causes of migration."

The JRS statement regretted that nothing was done about the high duties imposed on goods from African countries, and African leaders were only granted as little as 5% of the debt relief they sought. JRS said the G8 nations agreed only to assign to Africa half of an already pledged $A21.27 billion in development aid, rather than the $A62.04 billion they asked for. The question of investment in Africa's infrastructure, the statement said, was not even tackled.

"Economic development within an increased respect for human rights is the way forward for Africa," said John Dardis. "Only in this way will intractable refugee situations in Africa be resolved."

JRS said that if poverty in Africa is to be cut in half (the goal set by the UN Development program for 2015), the average growth rate in Africa has to double. And if this is to be achieved, Africa needs faster debt relief, better trade terms, the end of market-distorting subsidies and better access to markets for African countries.

The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is an international Catholic NGO working in around 50 countries, with over twenty years of experience in forced migration.

G8 Summit Canada 2002


2 Jul 2002