Columban call to observe World Debt Day on Monday

This Monday (16 May) is World Debt Day, which commemorates the day in 1998 when 70,000 people formed a human chain around the G8 summit in Birmingham, England, to call for debt justice for poor countries and greater accountability for past Cold War and irresponsible loans.

Edmund Rice Online reports that the Columban Centre for Peace Ecology & Justice has called on Australians to observe World Debt Day on Monday.

"Seven years later and the need for debt justice still persists," said the Centre's Anne Lanyon. "Every day, the poorest countries lose more than A$35 million in debt repayments to rich nations, while every three seconds, poverty takes the life of a child. The money required to cancel poor country debt is negligible in rich country terms. What is lacking is the will to change."

Ms Lanyon said that Christians in Australia must appreciate the extent of the poverty in other parts of the world.

She gave the example of Sub-Saharan Africa, which spends more on debt repayments in one week than, for example, an aid agency like World Vision Australia gives to all its overseas projects in one year.

Ms Lanyon said that next year, Indonesia will spend more than A$9 billion in debt repayments to rich countries, including over A$120 million to Australia. This, she said, is twice as much as what is spent on health and education combined and despite Indonesia receiving a moratorium following the tsunami and half the population living below the poverty line.

"We believe that the Church in our time must challenge the scandal of structural poverty," Ms Lanyon said. "We believe that the Gospel demands of Christians, a concern for justice, peace and the integrity of creation as central to missionary work."

The Columban Centre for Peace Ecology & Justice is the Co-ordinator of the Sydney Working Group and is on the National Working Group of Jubilee Australia.

"We call on all churches and church agencies to support the Jubilee Australia Drop the Debt Campaign this World Debt Day, and also on Jubilee Sunday 26th June. We call on them to do this through awareness raising, education and advocacy in parishes, schools and religious congregations," Ms Lanyon said.

Call to observe World Debt Day on Monday (Edmund Rice Online/Online Catholics 11/5/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Columban Centre for Peace Ecology and Justice
Jubilee Australia
World Debt Day - Five prayers specially written for World Debt Day (CAFOD/White Fathers of the Sahara)

Making Poverty History (Online Catholics 11/5/05)

12 May 2005