Bishop calls for total debt cancellation - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
April 12, 2005

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Bishop calls for total debt cancellation


The only solution to developing countries' problem of extreme poverty is a hundred per cent debt cancellation, the Anglican Bishop of Bath and Wells, Peter Price has said.

Kicking off the Global Week of Action on trade justice, the Bishop also called on poor countries to increase their pressure in calling for fair trade.

In an interview after an ecumenical service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka in Zambia, the Bishop said; "Debt in all its forms affects people at a basic level in terms of food, health, shelter, clothing etc and I can't see any solution other than total debt relief in the world" reports

He also observed that fighting against corruption was difficult when countries continued to be affected by debt.

"Without debt redemption, we cannot hold our governments accountable. There is need for debt cancellation so that we can say now that debt has been cancelled, the government can use its resources for the benefit of the poor and put an end to such things as corruption," he said.

Bishop Peter Price, who is in the country to add his voice to the Trade Justice campaign, said the road to achieving fair trade and fighting poverty was extremely difficult because of vested interests.

"There is need to realise that free trade is actually not fair trade. We have to find ways of balancing out genuine fair trade policies in our world if we are to eradicate extreme poverty," he said.

The Bishop said nations that had continued to go to war with other countries were exacerbating poverty.

"If for example we had spent the money that has been spent on the war in Iraq on development aid, we could have cured so many of the world's problems. This comes to mean that there is a need to end unnecessary wars to solve most of our problems," he observed.

The Bishop also expressed concern that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) would not be achieved because institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund wanted to maintain the status quo.

"The MDGs will not be achieved by 2015 unless the pressure is kept up because there are so many vested interests to keeping things as they are. It's a struggle that should be stepped up," he said.

He called on governments to be more involved in strengthening the United Nations so that it could be a force in fighting for the poor.

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