Christian Aid have announced that Rev Jesse Jackson will be in London on 20 October, backing a lobby of Parliament aimed at moving climate change and global tax transparency up the political agenda.
The Christian Aid lobby will coincide with the presentation of the government's Comprehensive Spending Review to the House of Commons.
Jackson, who was at the forefront of the civil rights movement in the US and a strident opponent of apartheid in South Africa, will address supporters at Methodist Central Hall in Westminster at 11am, alongside Christian Aid's new Director, Loretta Minghella and Christian Aid partners from India and Zambia.
In the afternoon, Christian Aid supporters from across the UK will lobby their local MPs at the House of Commons with the aim of securing stronger government action on climate change and international tax dodging by some multinational concerns.
‘We understand that times are hard, both in the US and the UK, but we are still better off than our neighbours in the developing world,” said Jackson, “We are reminded that in the Bible's New Testament, Jesus teaches us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless. Jesus reminds us that when we feast, we should invite the poor and injured.”
He added, "So while we fight for jobs and peace and justice in the US and the UK, we must remember to keep hope alive for our brothers and sisters in Africa, in the Caribbean, in South Asia, and all those in need around the world".
Paul Brannen, head of advocacy and influence at Christian Aid, said “October 20th is an important day in the political calendar. The Comprehensive Spending Review will be presented that day in Parliament”.
He added, “Most MPs will be in attendance, which gives our supporters an ideal opportunity to lobby their local representative. With more than 200 new MPs, it’s vital we lobby them on the need for urgent action on climate change and tax dodging, both of which affect millions of people living in developing countries. We also want to take this opportunity to thank the government for protecting the aid budget".
He concluded, "We are delighted Jesse Jackson, an outspoken campaigner for social justice, will be joining us to help get our messages across to the British government".
On climate change, Christian Aid is campaigning for rich countries to make deep and urgent cuts in their own domestic carbon emissions in line with keeping global warming within 2°C (at least 40 per cent cuts by 2020). They also want them to assist and help to pay for developing countries to reduce their emissions, develop cleanly and adapt to the impacts of climate change (committing to a global, annual fund of at least $160 billion).
Global tax transparency has been a major concern for Christian Aid in recent years. They say that companies which are trading internationally should be required to reveal the profits made and taxes paid in every country where they operate.
In addition, they want to ensure an automatic exchange of information between tax jurisdictions to counter the secrecy offered by tax havens.