African activists arrive demanding G8 action
Edinburgh: Today, anti-poverty activists from over 50 countries including Africa, America and Asia will arrive at Edinburgh airport as part of the Long Walk to Justice in advance of the G8 summit in Gleneagles, to present their demands to G8 leaders.
The long walkers have come from Uganda to Uruguay, Cambodia to Colombia, to represent their fellow citizen’s demands for the G8 leaders to help their countries through debt relief, immediate increases in aid and trade reforms.
Some of those arriving have travelled thousands of miles to ensure that G8 leaders take seriously the demands of people across the globe and act to end poverty. They are part of the Global Call to Action against Poverty, the world’s largest anti-poverty campaign that represents over 150 million people around the globe.
Achim Chiaji is coordinating the Global Call to Action against poverty nationally in Kenya and is one of the long-walkers arriving today.
“I am looking forward to coming to Edinburgh because the G8 has made Africa the priority for this year,” said Achim. “Many of us are saying – have the G8 ever seen Africa, do they know Africa, have they ever spoken to Africa” Our presence is symbolic. We don’t want Africans to be merely seen on TV screens but we will be there to make our demands in person.”
Julius Kapwepwe Mishambi, 31, is a policy analyst for Uganda’s debt network, which helps to track the Ugandan government’s budgetary spending to make sure money assigned for health and education is spent as it is supposed to be.
“I feel for the conditions our people find ourselves in and I feel that I can make a personal contribution to help improve our situation,” said Julius. “Looking at the debt servicing situation for African countries and the corruption tendencies in African countries makes me really angry. I want to demand better aid including borrowing for an open and transparent cause – not secretive borrowing with resources going to the pockets of individuals and cliques. At the end of the day it is the entire population that has to bear the burden of paying back the debt.”
The Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) is the world’s largest anti-poverty coalition, whose 15,000 organizations together represent more than 150 million people globally. It includes ‘MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY in the UK, the ONE campaign in the US and dozens of national campaigns in Latin America, Asia and Africa. The campaign, bringing together charities, trade unions, faith groups, grassroots movements and women’s groups across 72 countries, is aiming to make a breakthrough on poverty in 2005 and calling on world leaders to honour their promises on combating poverty.Visit www.whiteband.org for more information.
For more information or for an interview with any of the long-walkers or for biographies please contact:
Malcolm Fleming: 44 7718 918 346,
Caroline Green: 44 7739 456 535
Kate Norgrove: 44 7813 164 160
Ciara Gaynor: 44 7705 013950