International Demand for Debt Relief for Tsunami effected Countries

10 January 2005 by Jubilee Scotland

Scottish Debt Campaign will push Brown to Write off debts of Countries effected by Tsunami Disaster.

Britain, with United States backing, called on Tuesday for a freeze on foreign debts owed by the countries hit by the Asian tsunami disaster.

As Britain assumed the presidency of the G8 G8 Group composed of the most powerful countries of the planet: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the USA, with Russia a full member since June 2002. Their heads of state meet annually, usually in June or July. group of industrialised countries finance minister Gordon Brown said “What we are suggesting is an immediate moratorium on debt repayments from the afflicted countries,
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said: “We are talking initially about three billion dollars in debt repayment each year by the most affected countries.

Speaking in advance of a speech to be made by the Chancellor in Edinburgh on Thursday January 6th Vicki Clayton from Jubilee Scotland said:

Whilst a freeze on taking repayment on debt is a step in the right direction, 100% debt cancellation is required to enable economic recovery.

Campaigners in Scotland and across the world have been pushing for 100% debt cancellation for the world’s poorest countries for many years. As the UK takes over the presidency of the G8 we are hoping for real and lasting progress on combating world poverty

The spotlight will be on Scotland in 2005 as the G8 Summit will be held at Gleneagles and an unprecedented protest is expected to draw tens of thousands of campaigners to Edinburgh in July to call on rich country governments to MAKE POVERTY HISTORY

30,000 people die each day from poverty. As many people have lost their lives to poverty over the past 5 days as those killed by the tsunami disaster.

The £60 million raised so far by the British public is an incredible achievement but this is put into perspective when we see that a moratorium on debt repayment would mean an additional $3 billion each year for the most effected countries.

Indonesia is one of the most heavily indebted countries in the world with an external debt of $135 billion. If the money freed from servicing debt can be redirected to reconstruction and recovery lives can be saved. ’It is morally and economically wrong to continue to take debt repayments from such devastated economies

This debt relief we be needed in addition to aid. One must not be substituted for the other. Jubilee Scotland and other campaigning groups will be pushing for an increase in aid from rich nations as well as debt cancellation and fair trade rules. Debt relief often comes with conditions attached. It is essential that the money freed be spent on reconstruction and recovery but be free of harmful conditions.

We will continue to push the Chancellor to write off debt and to lead the G8 to MAKE POVERTY HISTORY in 2005.

Jubilee South writes:

In the face of Debt and Disaster: Long-lasting Relief for the Peoples of the South!

We express our deepest sympathy and solidarity for the peoples of Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and many other South countries who are currently suffering from the devastation unleashed by the tsunami last December 26. We cannot overemphasize how profoundly saddened we are by the climbing death toll, numbering over 150,000 as of January 4, the many thousand others missing or injured, the destruction of property, the loss of livelihoods and the widespread dislocation of communities. The Philippines was also severely hit by super-typhoons in the last few weeks, leading to the death of more than 1,000 people, the destruction of over 10,000 hectares of farmlands, and the rendering 53,000 families homeless and without access to clean water.

Now, more than ever, at their hour of greatest need, the peoples of the South must be heeded in their long-standing demand for debt cancellation.

In the face of this massive destruction, northern and international creditors should not continue to hold South peoples in bondage for debts that have in large part, only contributed to their impoverishment and deprivation. If there is any measure of sincerity in the outpouring of compassion from North governments for the peoples of the South, let this be through concrete action. In addition to emergency relief operations and rehabilitation, what we need immediately is:


Southern governments should not continue to prioritize debt service Debt service The sum of the interests and the amortization of the capital borrowed. , and squander much needed public funds:

STOP PAYING ONEROUS and ILLEGITIMATE DEBTS! Prioritize relief and rehabilitation, basic social services, clean and safe water, and other human development programs!

For analysis of Indonesia’s debt please visit:

Source: Jubilee Scotland, (



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