Debt justice charity, Jubilee Scotland, is calling for people to use the Commonwealth Games to explore the links between the Commonwealth and unjust debt. For the duration of the Games, Jubilee Scotland will be demonstrating how global debt undermines the values and principles of the Commonwealth Charter.
The Charter proclaims the Commonwealth organisation to be a global leader in recognising the equality of states, with the Games a celebration of what the British Empire has become. However, within the Commonwealth’s membership are some of the most heavily indebted countries in the world. This is often due to the exploitative colonial-style lending practices of the UK government.
Alys Mumford, Director of Jubilee Scotland, said:
The Commonwealth Games is a time for celebration, but also a time to reflect on the nature of the relationship between the UK and its partners in the Commonwealth. Many vulnerable countries are suffering due to unjust debt – leant by the UK Government to increase profits at the expense of the world’s poorest. Last year, only 3% of loans from the UK underwent any sort of human rights or impact assessment. While the Commonwealth Charter may be designed to protect the vulnerable, as long as the UK practices reckless and unjust lending, the notion of fair play is impossible.
During the 2 hours, 3 minutes, and 23 seconds it took Wilson Kipsang to run his world record-breaking Marathon last year, $119,251.26 left his native Kenya in debt and interest payments. The UK itself is owed £12.4 million by Kenya, a large proportion of which is for the construction of the Turkwel dam, a hydroelectric power station built in an earthquake and drought zone which produces very little electricity.
People will be encouraged to take action against the lending practices of the UK government by signing Jubilee Scotland’s ‘Debt Justice Pledge‘. This recognises that irresponsible lending can have devastating impacts on the life chances of millions of people, and calls for Scotland to become a leading nation of debt justice, whether as part of the UK or as an independent nation.
For further information, please contact:
Jubilee Scotland Campaign Director
Office: 0131 225 4321