Religious, Health Groups Urge Bush to Push for Debt Relief at G8 Summit
Thirty advocacy and religious groups sent President Bush a letter Monday urging him to mandate "deeper and broader debt relief" for developing nations at the upcoming G8 summit in Genoa, Italy. The letter, which was signed by religious organizations, African-American groups and AIDS groups "working in Africa," calls for the "full cancellation" of debts owed by "impoverished countries" to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The letter states that the signatory groups are "concerned that [the Bush administration] may not yet be fully taking into account the tremendous potential of deeper and broader debt relief and we are concerned that the U.S. delegation opposed the call for deeper debt relief at the U.N. special assembly on HIV/AIDS." The letter notes that Uganda, Tanzania and Cameroon have used some money freed up by debt cancellation to fight HIV/AIDS, adding that extending debt cancellation to other nations "would effectively build upon these successes." The letter urges debt cancellation for Nigeria, Bangladesh and Haiti in particular. David Bryden, spokesperson for the Global AIDS Alliance, said, "We hope this sends a clear message to President Bush that discussing AIDS at Genoa without seriously addressing debt as well will be rejected by a wide range of AIDS advocacy groups." Groups signing the letter include the Africa AIDS Initiative, the Episcopal Church USA, the Health GAP Coalition, the Global AIDS Alliance, Jubilee USA Network, the National Association of People Living With AIDS, the Presbyterian Church USA, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Treatment Action Group, the Conference of American Rabbis and the United Methodist Church (Global AIDS Alliance release, 7/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.