Divine Word Missionaries

Peace, Justice and Integrity Of Creation


Addresses For G-8 Participants >>

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Date: April 12, 2007

Letters to G-8 members

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

For the past six years we have joined together with many groups, churches, and individuals calling for the cancellation of the unjust burden of debt of some of the poorest countries in our world. Each year when the leaders of the G-8 countries gather for their summit meeting they hear from us!

We invite you to join us once again in our annual letter writing campaign. This is a significant and symbolic year as it is another Jubilee year, seven years after the Millennium Jubilee. It is also the half way mark in achieving the Millennium Development Goals which has 2015 as the year to attain these goals.

This is also the 40th anniversary of Pope Paul VI encyclical Populorum Progressio. In reading the document forty years later we can say that it was, and continues to be a “sign of the times” in its strong call for justice.

We want to be clearly understood: the present situation must be faced with courage and the injustices linked with it must be fought against and overcome. Development demands bold transformations, innovations that go deep. Urgent reforms should be undertaken without delay (#32).

This is what we ask of you:

  1. Distribute the attached letter to the G-8 leaders to the members of your congregation and ask them to send it to one or more of the G-8 leaders. (See attached for names and addresses)
  2. Encourage your membership to use in their ministries the “Mobilization Toolkit for Make Aid Work: The Poor Can’t Wait” (www.make-aid-work.org), which is available in English, French and Spanish. The kit includes a post card to the German Government who will host the G-8 meeting this year.
  3. Read Populorum Progressio and discuss its relevance for our times with friends.

Thank you for your participation in this important campaign.

In solidarity,

Michael Heinz svd

Joint Economic Justice Working Committee:
Caritas Internationalis
Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Promoters - Rome


[Participant in the G-8 Meeting in Germany June 6-8, 2007]

We, members of the Religious Debt Coalition, a group of 83 congregations of Roman Catholic women and men, and Caritas Internationalis, with its 162 member organizations worldwide, join our voices with many other groups in again calling the G-8 leaders of the richest industrial nations to cancel the debt of impoverished nations in this Sabbath year, 2007, the mid-point year for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015). We want to remind you that the MDGs were signed by all G-8 nations in the year 2000 – it is the responsibility of G-8 members to act now to honor this social and ethical commitment.

According to Judeo-Christian traditions, the Sabbath Year, the Year of Jubilee, requires that every seven years debts are cancelled and those enslaved because of debt are freed, restoring equal relations among community members and preventing ongoing exploitation in which the rich accumulate ever more wealth at the expense of the poor.

We see this Sabbath year action of the cancellation of debt as essential to meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), global commitments to cut extreme poverty in half by 2015. Debt cancellation would free billions of dollars which could, in turn, be used to fund programs related to the implementation of the MDGs – monies for education, pre-natal care, health, water and sanitation services.

Debt cancellation has already positively impacted many poor countries. In Tanzania, primary school fees have been abolished, resulting in a 66% increase in attendance; in Mozambique, children are receiving free immunizations; in Mali, 5,000 teachers are now receiving a monthly salary – all this as a result of debt relief.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, host of the G-8 meeting in Heiligendamm, Germany, has pledged to put world poverty at the center of the agenda of the 2007 G-8. We urge you, as a member of the G-8 group, to do more than simply increase funding for the poor - make debt relief an imperative, so that the excruciating burden of debt which continues the cycle of disease, hunger and death can be broken.

We urge you as a leader of a G-8 nation to implement policies for the cancellation of debt. This action will contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, a commitment to reduce poverty and to restore persons to a life worthy of their human dignity.


Addresses For G-8 Participants >>