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9 June 2005 Edition

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Eradicate world poverty

In a world of increasing wealth, a world growing smaller with technology, communications and faster transport, a world that is fast becoming a global village, it is unacceptable that thousands of children die from starvation or avoidable illnesses every week.

If debt repayments incurred by developing nations were written off and redeployed by the rich nations into health and education in these countries, then the lives of millions of children every year could be saved.

To effectively tackle poverty and hunger, we have to understand the context in which they occur and the international monetary policies that sustain the problems leading to such human disaster.

Sinn Féin is concerned about the need for fair trade and support the calls for debt cancellation and support the founding statement of the Trade Justice Movement. We have raised these issues with both the British and Irish Governments and will continue to do so.

Sinn Féin TDs have also put on record, in Leinster House, our call for Trade Justice in the Cancun World Trade Organisation negotiations last September. Our party activists throughout Ireland are active supporters and participants in campaigns for fair trade and debt cancellation.

We also believe that the EU should be a strong actor in achieving global justice. Developing a comprehensive global justice campaign which can see the achievement of the Millennium Development goals on global poverty reduction by 2015 must become one of the main objectives for EU external relations. The Sinn Féin MEPs will support measures to achieve this goal.

It is not acceptable for the EU to act as an economic superpower, imposing a free trade agenda that hurts the developing world. Instead, it must use its considerable economic power responsibly by pursuing policies that eradicate exploitative trade relationships that prevent the developing world from establishing independent sustainable economies.

Sinn Féin shares the views of those organising the Make Poverty History campaign that it is outrageous that the Dublin Government, without a semblance of embarrassment, admits that it will not meet its stated commitment to increase Overseas Development Aid to 0.7% GNP by 2007, and also the lack of any real commitment from the British Government. The party has raised this issue repeatedly with the Irish Government over the past few years.

According to UN estimates, debt cancellation could save the lives of seven million children. Debt cancellation is a moral imperative on the wealthier nations of the world. The amounts are relatively insignificant to us — but would make all the difference to the poorer nations strangled by the legacy of colonialism and unjust globalisation.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1