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Christian Aid demands candidates put the climate first

by Michael Ford last modified 05 Dec, 2019 06:09 PM

Christian Aid has launched its election manifesto, demanding politicians take urgent action to tackle climate and economic injustice and to build peace, helping end poverty and create a fair and sustainable world, ahead of the forthcoming UK General Election on 12 December.

Among its demands, the UK-based international charity urges all political parties to:

• Work for climate justice and take urgent action to address the climate crisis in a way which improves the lives for the poorest, backed by investment and international leadership. This would include ending all support for fossil fuel extraction; regulating and encouraging UK banks and investors to divest from fossil fuel investment in line with the Paris Agreement; and ruling out international offsets in law, which offload the UK’s own emission reduction responsibilities onto poorer countries.

• Work for economic justice, addressing the unfair distribution of wealth in the world. This would include shifting power from institutions such as the IMF, the OECD and World Bank, and towards the more equal United Nations; and reforming the current UK tax rules that continue to allow tax abuse and avoidance which rob poor countries of the money they need to invest in poverty alleviation. It would also include retaining the commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI for foreign aid and development and ensuring that this money is spent as well as possible, retaining DFID as a standalone department.

• Tackle violence and build peace. This should include committing to increase the UK’s funding of global peacekeeping to more than 1.5% via the United Nations Security Council; immediately suspending arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates due to the risks of these being used against civilians in Yemen, and improving the overall regulation of the arms trade; expanding the refugee resettlement schemes by increasing the number of Syrian children and families allowed into the UK; and providing impartial funding in areas of conflict like Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories to hold all parties to account for violations under international law.

Daisy-Rose Srblin, Christian Aid’s Senior UK Advocacy Adviser, said:

“At a time of considerable change and turmoil, it is critical we ask those in power to play a positive global role, and create a just and sustainable world.

“We know that poverty is inherently political and structural power imbalances continue to rob people of dignity and voice.

“The UK is still the second biggest historical emitter of greenhouse gases per capita and now has a moral duty to set an example and lead the way to net-zero as soon as possible, while helping other nations to develop in a sustainable way and adapt to continuing changing environments.

“Despite global wealth continuing to rise, poverty persists. Governments, the private sector and wider civil society all have a crucial part to play in building just and sustainable economies so everyone cannot only survive but also thrive.

“Finally, it is important to remember that the UK does not have a good reputation as a peacemaker and continues to sell arms to the Saudi-led coalition, despite numerous violations of humanitarian law. This is our opportunity to take positive action and prioritise peace over war.

“As we approach a UK General Election, it is critical that we ask those seeking to lead our nation to pledge to help people living in poverty. The UK has a moral obligation to the world’s poorest people to act. It is a matter of justice.”

Luke Harman, Christian Aid’s Campaigns Manager, added:

“A General Election offers a great opportunity for us to stand together with our sisters and brothers living in poverty around in the world, and to ensure their voices are raised up to people in power.

“Brexit is bound to dominate this election, and itself may affect the poorest in the UK and beyond, but we need to remind candidates asking for our votes that the scandal of international poverty is something millions of us care deeply about.”

Christian Aid's full 2019 manifesto is here.

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