Coalition pushes debt relief for poor countries as economic stimulus
Published: January 2, 2009
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- With all that President-elect Barack Obama has facing his new administration regarding the economy, a coalition of religious, human rights and labor advocates hopes that one concern won't be relegated to the bottom of the list: debt relief for the world's poorest countries. The Jubilee USA Network recognizes that debt relief's profile has declined dramatically from its high point just a few years ago. But the 80 organizations that make up the network know just as well that their advocacy work has kept the issue in front of Congress, the Bush administration and the World Bank, if not in the headlines. The coalition takes its name from the Jewish tradition of forgiving debt every 50 years, as told in Chapter 25, Verse 10, of the Book of Leviticus: "This 50th year you shall make sacred by proclaiming liberty in the land for all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you." Neil Watkins, Jubilee USA's national coordinator, said the network will be encouraging U.S. officials in the new administration and in Congress to continue their commitments to poor countries at a time when funds for international aid may almost disappear.
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