On Wednesday 4 September, the eve of the G20 summit in St Petersburg (5-6 September), MRDF joined campaigners from Jubilee Debt Campaign for a photo stunt outside HM Treasury calling on global leaders to prioritise 'Life before debt'.
Inspired by the biblical idea of jubilee, a time when debts were cancelled, slaves were freed and land was redistributed, the campaign is calling for a new debt jubilee in response to today’s global economic crisis: a Jubilee for Justice. Following the stunt, campaigners then walked to Downing Street to hand in a 10,000-strong paper chain petition.
The campaign called on the UK government and G20 leaders to:
Cancel the unjust debts of the most indebted nations
Promote just and progressive taxation rather than excessive borrowing
Stop harmful lending which forces countries into debt
Maurice Adams, Chief Executive of MRDF, said:
'MRDF is proud to be a partner of Jubilee Debt Campaign and many of our supporters have added their voices to the Jubilee for Justice campaign. MRDF’s partners around the world are striving to help communities to free themselves from poverty and a dependency on aid but this is a daily struggle in a climate of unjust economic policies, debt and tax dodging. The Biblical concept of Jubilee is such a relevant message for our times, incorporating justice and a restoration of balance and relationships in society, for the benefit of all. We pray that the G20 leaders in St Petersburg will hear our call to put life before debt and take action to make real and lasting change for the world’s poorest communities'
Nick Dearden, Director of Jubilee Debt Campaign, said:
'The lives of hundreds of millions of people are being adversely affected by the myth that debt is the moral responsibility of the people of a country, however little those people were responsible for, or benefited from, the loans. Many debts should not be paid because the loans were odious or their repayment will cause immense suffering.
We need to take control of our financial system so that the power of big finance over all of our lives is broken. The G20 needs to make companies pay a fair share of tax. And controls on the movement of money between countries are needed to prevent large debts being created. This isn’t utopian - there are real policies, models and experiments now and historically which point the way to a fairer, more democratic form of economics.
As things stand, the international economic system is skewed towards debt and away from life. The world needs to stand up against this system and say loud and clear to the G20 - it’s time to put life before debt.'
Add your voice our latest campaign and ask Vince Cable MP to 'Drop Dictator Debt'
Find out more with Jubilee Debt Campaign’s interactive map of debt around the world