Putting human need before debt repayment
Third world people dying due to efforts to repay foreign debt.
At the international level, few problems are more urgent or more deep-seated than that of debt. Fourteen years ago the problem was already serious enough for the Pontifical Commission for Justice and Peace to publish a statement outlining the responsibilities of all concerned and the ethical principles to be followed in seeking a solution. Today the problem is considerably more serious. The total amount of debt amount owed by the world’s developing nations has more than quadrupled since the early 1980s.
The effort made by poor countries to repay these debts has been phenomenal, and the cost has been more than just money. Whether on their own initiative or under so-called ‘structural adjustment programs’ imposed from outside, many countries have drastically cut their spending, reducing money for sectors such as health, education and housing, cutting subsidies on essential items like food and fuel and cutting basic wages. The poor of these countries have borne the brunt of these changes, and UNICEF has estimated that hundreds of thousands of people die each year as a result of efforts made to repay foreign debt.
The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council supports the Jubilee Australia movement, which is working to have the unpayable debts of the world’s poorest countries cancelled.
To find out about Jubilee Ausralia's latest campaigns, visit their website http://www.jubilee2000.org.au