WHY SHOULD poor countries cut their welfare budgets to pay debts while people are forced to drink polluted water?
Why must children die so that the bankers receive still more to fatten their profits?
These were the sentiments expressed by many of the delegates to the Jubilee Debt Campaign annual conference held in London last Saturday.
There was a sense of pride that the debt issue has been forced on to the agenda and that the world’s leaders feel they have to say it is a serious issue which needs resolving.
But there was also realism about how much still needs to be done. Many debt campaigners are familiar with the numbers 375, 100 and 46.
- $375 billion is the original debt of the world’s 52 poorest and most indebted countries.
- $100 billion is the amount of debt that the G8 promised to write off.
- $46 billion is the amount of debt that has actually been written off — and much of this was not being repaid anyway.
The 52 poorest countries still pay more than $50 million a day in debt repayments.
As coalition co-ordinator Ashok Sinha said, “We have heard the gilded rhetoric, we want action.”
The great majority of the people at the conference were clear that it would take huge pressure to reach the goal of 100 percent debt cancellation and no strings.
There was a warm welcome for speakers who talked about demonstrating at the G8 summit in Gleneagles in July.
For more information go to www.jubileedebtcampaign.org.uk