Tuesday, January 25, 2005

[Global Poverty] Demonstrators call for an end to world poverty

Jan 24, 2005
By Paul Dale
Birmingham Post

The Bishop for Birmingham joined entertainer Don McLean and hundreds of supporters at Birmingham's Bullring on Saturday in a demonstration against world poverty.

In the first event of its kind in the UK, campaigners wrapped St Martin's Church in a white band - the symbol of the international Make Poverty History coalition.

The Bishop, the Rt Rev Dr John Sentamu, hit out at Government policies which he said were failing to tackle global inequalities.

Bishop Sentamu said:

"Globalisation is a form of imperialism. It embodies a contemptible account of what it means to be human. It destroys our sense of being at home in the world and it poses a serious threat to the environment."

Although he was in "critical solidarity" with the Government's objective to eradicate poverty, he could not support free trade, he said.

People living in poverty did not need free trade but trade justice, the Bishop added. He urged campaigners to use 2005 to challenge the Government's commitment to free trade and liberalisation.

Make Poverty History, launched on January 1, calls on

world leaders to do much more to tackle poverty. The campaign claims that 30,000 children die every day and 800 million people across the world go to bed hungry because they are poor.

Muhammad Imran of Islamic Relief, part of the Birmingham Make Poverty History coalition, said: "The tsunami disaster has focused people's attention on the consequences of poverty.

"The impact of this horrific natural disaster was made so much worse as the countries and communities it hit were poor.

"People must gather together to urge world leaders to do something about this and the poverty worldwide that creates its own disastrous death toll every week."

Audrey Miller, of the Jubilee Debt Campaign, said Birmingham was an ideal place to launch the Make Poverty History campaign because the city had a strong history of social campaigning.

"In 1998, 70,000 people gathered in the city for the G8 meeting and put debt on the international agenda. In 2005 we hope that thousands across the city and millions around Britain will join together to call for an end to international debt."