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20.03.2007 16:57 Age: 7 yrs
Category: Press Releases
Religious, Civil Society Leaders Urge Congress to Support Expanded International Debt Relief
Letter Asks Reps. Waters, Bachus, Frank to Support Bold Legislation for Expanded Debt Cancellation in Sabbath Year
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – MARCH 21, 2007
CONTACT: Debayani Kar, 202-783-0215 or mobile, 202-246-8143
WASHINGTON – Following President Bush’s trip to Latin America during which the President emphasized the importance of debt relief in the region, more than 20 religious and civil society leaders wrote to Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Spencer Bachus, and Rep. Barney Frank today in support of legislation currently under development that would provide expanded debt cancellation for impoverished nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
“2007 is the Sabbath Year, seven years after the Jubilee 2000 Campaign. Despite the international community’s new commitments to poverty eradication over the past seven years…the basic inequities that fuel deadly poverty in our world are as pronounced as ever,” the leaders wrote. “…the Sabbath Year is an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the Jubilee campaign, and to address the unfinished agenda on international debt. Our faith and our convictions call us to support bold and prophetic measures to end the crisis of debt and deadly poverty. We encourage the reintroduction of a Jubilee Act as soon as possible.”
The letter was signed by religious leaders including Rev. Dr. Robert Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches USA; Mark S. Hanson, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Bishop Janice Riggle Huie, President of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church; The Most Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church; Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA); and Rev. Dr. John H. Thomas, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ.
“We know that debt relief works to fight poverty,” said Neil Watkins, National Coordinator of Jubilee USA Network, the US arm of the global Jubilee campaign working for freedom from debt. “We are excited to partner with allies in Congress in the 2007 Sabbath year to work towards expanded debt cancellation without harmful conditions for the world’s impoverished nations to help meet the Millennium Development Goals.”
Reps. Waters, Bachus, and Frank were initial co-sponsors of the JUBILEE Act (HR 1130) in the 109th Congress; that bill garnered 82 co-sponsors. Jubilee USA Network, an alliance of more than 80 religious denominations, faith-based networks, trade unions, environmental, and development organizations has launched a Sabbath year campaign for expanded debt cancellation.