The 70,000 Vote for Trade Justice cards signed by CAFOD supporters were among the sack loads of cards hand-delivered to Number 10 yesterday by Santa and his trusty elf helpers. The early delivery of goodies to Prime Minister Tony Blair from the Make Poverty History coalition totalled 750,000 postcards from campaigners all over England and Wales calling on the UK Government to deliver trade justice - not free trade in world trade talks. The delivery formed part of the campaigning activities around Make Poverty History's third and final White Band Day, which takes place on 10 December. It is also just days before the World Trade Organisation Ministerial (WTO) meeting opens in Hong Kong. White Band Day is a day of global campaigning when trade justice campaigners stand together as part of an unparalleled mobilisation of tens of millions of ordinary people. CAFOD will join forces with thousands of others from across the UK to remind politicians of the depth of support for trade justice among the British public. The call will be the same whatever the location: Tony Blair and other rich country leaders must make radical changes to the way world trade is currently managed so it benefits poor people and the environment and not just the rich and powerful. CAFOD's head of campaigns Alison Marshall said: "The WTO is the last chance in 2005 to progress a just trade deal for the world's poor. In unprecedented numbers citizens across the world are calling on rich countries at the WTO to stop pushing poor countries into open up their markets against their will and to end export dumping that damages the livelihoods of poor people. "The spotlight is now shining on these elected leaders. They must deliver trade justice if they are to end this year of Make Poverty History by keeping their promises to the billions of people living in poverty around our world." CAFOD, as a key member of the Trade Justice Movement and Make Poverty History coalition, has been collecting votes all year and campaigned for a just trade deal for the world's poor. The campaign's urgent demand is that the UK and the EU must allow poor countries the freedom to choose how to make trade work best for their economies including the right of developing countries to protect their industries, farmers and services. The Vote for Trade Justice is part of a massive on-going global call for action for trade justice. Across the EU over 15 million Europeans have taken action this year on trade and poverty. Already over 10 million ordinary people in both the developing and the rich world - from millions of cotton and coffee farmers in Africa to hundreds of thousands of garment workers in Bangladesh - have voiced their demand for change through trade justice petitions like the Big Noise to Make Trade Fair.
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