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CAFOD, Christian Aid and WDM: Joint statement on world debt protests

 Christian Aid, CAFOD and the World Development Movement are concerned that any violent protests should not obscure the core message of the demonostrations. The World Bank and IMF are causing devastation across the world's poorest countries and globalisation is increasing the gap between rich and poor. "Global protest against Third World debt is the only language left for the world's poor," says Henry Northover, head of policy for CAFOD. "If the warm words and good intentions of the world's richest creditors are to be heard and believed, then the unpayable debts must be cancelled quickly and cancelled in full." According to Karen Joyner, Christian Aid's IMF and World Bank policy officer, "The view promoted by the IMF and World Bank that the global economy can simply reach into the far corners of the world and pluck people out of poverty is fantasy." Until Third World debts are cancelled and wealthy countries give more aid and trade fairly with poorer countries, the poverty gap will widen, she says. "There is no smoke without fire," says Jessica Woodroffe, the World Development Movement's head of policy. "Despite the current PR initiative, the IMF is still imposing harsh economic reforms on the world's poorest countries. There have been more 30 demonstrations around the world in the past year against IMF policies. If they are serious about poverty reduction, they will have to be serious about reform."