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Council joins campaign against injustice in trade agreements

Canberra-Goulburn auxiliary Bishop Patrick Power will today spearhead the Catholic Social Justice Council's push for the interests of the world's poor to be factored into the drawing up of international trade agreements.

Bishop Power is launching the Council's paper Trade Justice in Sydney at lunchtime. The publication of the paper is timed to coincide with this week's Global Week of Action for Trade Justice.

The paper has been written on behalf of the Council by its project officer Sr Suzette Clark RSC, and Dr Patricia Ranald of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, who convenes the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network .

Sharan Burrow, National President of Australian Council of Trade Unions and President of International Confederation of Free Trade Unions will speak at the launch, which will take place at the Pitt Street Uniting Church.

The launch is one of several events being held this week to mark the Global Week of Action for Trade Justice. In over 80 countries, organisations, movements and campaigns are mobilising to raise awareness of trade injustice and to challenge the free trade myth.

The Message of the Global Week of Action for Trade Justice is:
NO to the rich and powerful imposing unjust trade agreements, indiscriminate liberalisation and privatisation on the poor.
YES to everyone's right to food, a livelihood, water, health and education.

Sr Clark says the Catholic Social Justice Council's paper is an example of Church and society working together to raise awareness and to make a contribution towards the discussion of current trade practices.

It argues that trade can contribute to economic growth and development, just as globalisation of communications can contribute to cultural exchange and enrich lives. But, over the last decade, international trade agreements have been strengthened in ways that can also have negative impacts on the daily lives of people all over the world.

The idea for the Global Week of Action was generated at the International Trade Campaign Conference in Delhi, November 2003 with a call to action for trade justice. During that Conference, graphic pictures emerged of the injustice being experienced by the poor, especially in developing countries. It aims to "challenge the free trade myth, and to put forward alternatives by delivering the biggest global mobilisation ever seen".

Launch of Catholic Social Justice Series Paper: "Trade Justice" marks Global Week of Action for Trade Justice (Australian Catholic Social Justice Council 11/4/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Sisters of Charity Advocacy Network | Global Week of Action for Trade Justice - Download Info, Events, Prayer (Word)
Trade Justice Action Week (Mission and Spirituality News, April 2005)
Global Week of Action 10-16 2005
International Trade Campaign Conference, Delhi 2003 (Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance) | Trade for People, not People for Trade | Global Week of Action

Latin American bishops urge caution on free trade agreements (CathNews 24/12/04)
American bishops set impact on poor as Free Trade's 'moral measure' (CathNews 27/7/04)

Aboagye Mensah: The Poor Will Always Lose in a Free Market (Ghanian Chronicle/ 11/4/05)
Global week of action to challenge church views on markets (Ekklesia 31/3/05)
Global Week of Action on Trade Justice (CAFOD)
Resources for Global Week of Action on trade - April 10-16 2005 (Church World Service)

12 Apr 2005