Jubilee Debt Campaign Birmingham

Archive for December 2009

The launch of the Jubilee Debt Campaign multifaith project has  been very eventfu.l Over the last month we have gained some very useful media coverage l  and entirely unexpected “spin-off”.

One newspaper article led to the reader sending cheque for £100.00 and very encouraging comments about  coming to the Birmingham Human Chain in 1998 and the time she had given in the past to her activism. But now at 97 she had decided to support JDC by giving money rather than demonstrating or lobbying!

In a telephone call from a retired journalist I  was amused to hear him say that in 1997 when we first met and talked about the “Human chain” he  was convinced no more than a few dozen people would turn out on cup final day and that  I was completely mad to even try to get debt cancellation for the world poorest countries. It was rather good to have proved at least one journalist wrong in that 70,000 came  to Birmingham and that jubilee  has acheived so much in the last twelve years.but some would perhaps agree with him that I am completely mad!

The multifaith project attracted new  web-based radio audiences for us in that on December 1st Trans World Radio broadcast half an hour programme entitled “Drop the Debt”.Speaking along side Gordon Brown Stephen Rand and selection of celebs was certainly a new experience for me.The  radio venture  was successful in that more programmes about JDC are planned for the New Year on Vulture funds.

Then out of the blue an Anglo – french film crew arrived on the doorstep to interview Salma Hamid and I about how our faith links to Global Poverty..It will be interesting to see if the film commissioned by an Australian venture actually comes to completion and if Birmingham campaigners get past the cutting room.

What ever the out come it’s all been good fun and the news that we have almost raised £2,000  from private individuals towards the  multifaith project is  encouraging. Donations have ranged from £5.00 to £500.00.

If you can help with a donation  do get in touch  we can provide Gift Aid envelops to maximise your contribution if you are a tax payer. Perhaps you can also provide names of any trusts or charities which might support our work? It good that the word is spreading in so many media outlets and we are getting this positive” spin-off”

Seasons Greetings to you all.

Audrey Miller

The latest outrage on  international debt has been demonstrated the during  the last few weeks. In the British High Court two Vulture Funds were awarded $20 million for a debt that dates back to 1978.  For a country that sits in the bottom 15 for worst living standards in the world, that $20 million siphoned off by the Vulture Funds is equal to 105% of the country’s education budget and 155% of its health budget in 2008. The country Liberia Is currently headed by Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the first democratically elected women head of state in Africa. The country has shown itself to be a model of responsible borrowing since the end of its war.  Despite the illegitimacy of Liberia’s loans, taken out by dictatorial governments and used to fuel and finance the 14 years of civil war, the new democratic government has done all it can to start fresh by clearing its past debts.

Suddenly out of the blue come this devastating blow from our High court when, Wall Capital Ltd. and Hamsah Investments, sued Liberia and were awarded $20 million.  These Vulture Funds held the rights to a $6 million debt from 1978, which has been passed through many hands and has an unclear record of spending and repayment – the money may have even financed and fuelled the civil war.

Attempts by Jubilee campaigners to stop our courts and those in USA taking part in rewarding these vultures   failed when the British government did not include the necessary measures in the Queens speech. Nothing can it seems be done to undo this gross in justice to the people of Liberia, but we now have to find a means of stopping other Vultures landing in London and eating the flesh from other poor people.

One gallant MP might just make this possible – if you lobby your MP to help his private members bill through the House of Commons. Andrew Gwynne could save hundreds of thousands of people from the damaging effects of this and prevent the rich investors going in for the kill on other weak and powerless countries in the same position as Liberia.

Do get in touch with your MP and make your views known If you go to find your MP Please take full advantage of being able to have your say. Lets cull the vultures and stop any more law suits in Uk. Jubilee USA are doing their part  to stop similar actions in the law courts there too.

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This is the blog of the local group of the UK campaign calling for cancellation of international Debt.

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December 2009