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Two Years Later, Jubilee Network Celebrates Many Gains in Campaign For




 

WASHINGTON, April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Two years ago, the historic Jubilee 2000 campaign gained international attention with the help of rock star Bono and religious leaders like the Pope and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Jubilee 2000 has become Jubilee USA Network, and this broad coalition of labor, religious and development organizations continue to push for 100% debt cancellation and an end to harmful conditions imposed on debt relief.

Much has Been Achieved

The impacts of debt relief have been groundbreaking:

* In Tanzania after initial debt relief efforts and an end to the practice of charging fees for education, over a million students have enrolled to get back to school in just three months.

* In Uganda debt relief funds have been directed to education and elementary school enrollment doubled, from 40% to 90%.

* Mozambique has vaccinated 500,000 children against deadly but preventable diseases.

* Honduras will increase public education from 6th grade to 9th grade nationwide.

Debt relief has become central in the efforts to end poverty and fight HIV/AIDS. After years of intensive educational efforts, the general public, ecumenical leaders, the US Congress and the Bush Administration are making debt relief a priority. The heightened profile even resulted in a major about-face in World Bank policy last fall, when the bank acknowledged that indeed, as critics had contended, Bank and Fund policies were preventing poor people from accessing primary school education and vital health care services.

Clearly, the Jubilee movement has played a vital role in actualizing what politicians and economists initially considered an unrealistic and controversial ask for definitive debt cancellation.

Much Remains to be Done

Despite great progress, much remains to be done:

* Only 26 countries have qualified for debt relief so far. Many very poor countries are excluded like Haiti, Bangladesh and Nigeria.

* For these 26 countries, debt service will be only reduced by 1/3.

"When 19 of the 26 countries that have received debt relief continue to pay more on debt than health care for their citizens, we clearly need to do more to resolve the international debt crisis," said Marie Clarke, National Coordinator for Jubilee USA Network.

Jubilee USA opposes harmful conditions imposed by the World Bank and IMF before countries can receive debt relief. Conditions include requiring countries to sell off their water supplies, privatize utilities, phase out social services or charge impoverished citizens unaffordable fees for health and education. Jubilee USA Network calls for immediate 100% debt cancellation without unreasonable conditions. A World Bank report released yesterday underscores the difficulties countries are having meeting the conditions now in place, resulting in fewer than expected countries qualifying for full relief.

Momentum to Go Farther on Debt Builds -- This week's events:

* Jubilee USA welcomes movement in the US Congress to introduce legislation seeking to deepen multilateral debt cancellation. Jubilee USA recognizes this step as acknowledgement that the debt crisis is far from over and applauds efforts by Senators Biden and Santorum and Reps. Smith and LaFalce to address the need for deeper debt cancellation. We are also pleased to hear that the legislation will take into account the toll of HIV/AIDS in many of these indebted countries as a reason for the need for definitive debt cancellation.

* While World Bank and IMF meetings are underway this weekend, Jubilee USA members will sponsor "Ring-In Freedom from Debt" events on April 20-21st. Churches and Jubilee groups across the country will participate from NY, DC, OH, MI, CO, NM and WA. The bell ringing is in celebration of what debt relief is achieving and to call on the World Bank and IMF, as they meet this weekend, to commit to 100% cancellation.

* This week a delegation from Jubilee South, an organization of campaigns from around the world working on debt cancellation, is in DC, bringing first-hand testimonies of debt cancellation efforts in Tanzania, Uganda, Argentina, Nicaragua and elsewhere. Jubilee South hosted the final sentencing session of the International People's Tribunal on Debt this morning in Washington DC. The tribunal began in Porto Alegre, Brazil at the World Social Forum where the IMF, World Bank and other creditors were found guilty crimes relating to international debt.

* Mara Vanderslice of Jubilee USA Network spoke at a press conference yesterday at the AFL-CIO headquarters hosted by a broad coalition of labor, environmental and religious NGOs releasing a report on "Responsible Reforms of the World Bank." Among other things, the need for deeper and broader debt cancellation was highlighted in the report, which asks for Congressional funds for the World Bank to be conditioned on reforms that protect the poor, women and the environment. View the report at http://www.bicusa.org.



 


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Information in this article was accurate in April 18, 2002. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.