End tax haven secrecy, say social justice NGOs

By agency reporter
8 Feb 2011

French President Nicolas Sarkozy faces a global campaign demanding that the G20 commits to ending tax haven secrecy when it meets in Cannes, France later this year.

Organisations behind the campaign, which was launched at the World Social Forum in Dakar today, include Christian Aid, ActionAid, Tax Justice Network Africa and Inspiraction (Spain).

By visiting the websites of participating agencies, those wanting to add their voices will be able to email President Sarkozy, who is this year’s G20 host, as well as other G20 leaders, demanding that effective action to end tax haven secrecy is firmly on the G20 agenda.

"We hope many thousands of campaigners will demand an end to the huge suffering which tax haven secrecy currently causes, especially in developing countries," said Dr David McNair, Senior Economic Justice Adviser at Christian Aid.

He added: "G20 countries between them have the power to force tax havens to stop keeping the secrets of people and companies who dodge tax, pay or receive bribes and launder money."

Tax dodging by some unscrupulous companies operating internationally costs developing countries more than they receive in aid. Christian Aid estimates this to be around US$160 billion each year – money which should be funding schools, hospitals and other vital public services.

Chris Jordan, Tax Justice Campaigner at ActionAid, said: "Removing the secrecy havens offer would make tax dodging dramatically more difficult and enable governments in poorer countries to determine just how much they are losing by way of tax revenues, and take the appropriate action."

For links and information, go to: www.endtaxhavensecrecy.org

[Ekk/3]

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