European campaigners demand G7 cancel Haiti’s debts

By agency reporter
February 4, 2010

Campaigners from across Europe joined with Haitian civil society groups today in condemning the failure of the International Monetary Fund to cancel Haiti’s debts, and the Fund’s extension of new loans to Haiti.

As G7 finance ministers prepare to meet in the far North of Canada tomorrow, campaigners released a statement demanding the immediate and unconditional cancellation of Haiti’s entire debt.

Camille Chalmers of the Haitian Advocacy Platform for Development (PAPDA) said: “The debts imposed by the IFIs and the major world powers have contributed to destroying our country. It's the equivalent of an earthquake which has lasted from late in 1983 when we signed the first standby agreement with the IMF. These loans have caused earthquakes, aftershocks and tremors which have undermined our institutions and our capacity to respond to a crisis of this magnitude."

A cross-party group of British Parliamentarians, led by Sally Keeble MP, also signed a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, to support debt cancellation and calling the situation faced by Haiti “completely unacceptable”.

In addition, the European Network on Debt and Development released a briefing which outlines Haiti’s debts and shows that country owes as much debt now as was cancelled by the international community only 9 months ago: $1.2 billion.

It also reveals that in the coming nine years, the IMF will expect Haiti to repay at least $104 million – and over $500 million will be expected in that time by all of Haiti’s creditors combined.

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