Green MP joins international call to cancel developing countries’ debt

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman is joining over 300 lawmakers from around the world in calling on the big banks and the IMF to forgive the debt of developing countries, in the wake of the COVID crisis.

The open letter to the heads of the World Bank Group and IMF is being led by United States’ lawmakers Rep. Ilhan Omar and Sen. Bernie Sanders. The signatories span two dozen countries and sit across the political spectrum.

It urges the organisations to forgive the debt of 76 developing countries, to give them a chance at withstanding the financial impact of the pandemic.   

“Not only do we have a humanitarian duty to aid our petitioning countries in dire need, but we also have a common, vested interest to support comprehensive relief for effective recovery and resiliency. As a collaborative international community, we can only begin to move past this pandemic once this pandemic ends for everyone,” the letter states.

Green Party Foreign Affairs spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman says Aotearoa New Zealand has an obligation to add its voice to the call, especially given our Pacific neighbours are among the worst affected countries.

“As a member of the global community, Aotearoa must speak up for countries suffering the worst impacts and with the least resource to tackle the COVID-19 crisis. Global banks have put in some short-term measures to ease the immediate pressure on these countries resulting from the pandemic, but those measures alone are not enough.

“We know the devastation and cycles of poverty created by debt are suffered most by nations with a history of colonisation and war. It’s time to undo historic harm and build a truly equal global community in the wake of this crisis.  

“We don’t have to look far to see where this hardship exists. Our Pacific Island neighbours are among those recognised as particularly vulnerable from the impact of the pandemic. They face an impossible journey to recovery if they are being crushed by global debt.

“Long after the developed world recovers from COVID, less wealthy countries like our Pacific neighbours will still be struggling. The onus is on wealthier countries to do their part by supporting this call for debt cancellation.

“This will, in turn, protect global health and stability. It is our chance to right historic inequity and reimagine our world as a compassionate community of equals.”

The signatories on the letter are asking for a response to their call within 15 days. The full letter can be found: here.

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