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Monday, October 24, 2016
Report shows the world's poor are paying for the war on terror
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¬†Some of the world's poorest people are already paying for the War on Terror, as the giving of aid by the world's richest countries becomes ruled by the rhetoric of 'with us or against us'. This must not continue, says a new report released last night by Christian Aid. The report 'The politics of poverty: Aid in the new Cold War' examines how the policies of donor countries are starting to follow the language of the Cold War. Aid, says the report, is once again being viewed as a means of promoting the donors' own interests, rather than addressing the real needs of poor people. "Programmes designed to help poor people have been cut, budgets re-allocated and hopes dashed as donor priorities have been shifted," says Dr Daleep Mukarji, director of Christian Aid. "Moves currently being made between rich countries threaten to accelerate that process - with dangerous possible consequences. "Our message, however, is that it is not too late to re- kindle the noble, humanitarian aims of aid - to reduce world poverty. It is also a warning: if the rich world fails in this endeavour, then our future global security will also be undermined,' says Dr Mukarji. 'Poor people must not, yet again, be bulldozed by the contingencies of a global strategy in which they have no voice." The report sets out the mistakes of the past and shows how they are starting to be repeated. Drawing on evidence from recent discussions in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), it demonstrates how some forms of military training and intelligence gathering are now being considered as suitable areas to be funded from aid budgets. It examines the case of Uganda, which illustrates how the government's manipulation of the War on Terror has led to an intensification of the conflict in the north of the country. Hopes of a peace deal have diminished, while succour has been given to and increasingly repressive regime. It also looks at the situation in Afghanistan, where US-led forces are waving the humanitarian flag while also fighting a war - a fatal combination. Across Afghanistan, aid workers are being killed and much-needed reconstruction is now on hold. Christian Aid's recommendations include: ∑ The British government must use its leadership and influence to halt and then reverse the dangerous international drift towards linking aid to the War on Terror. ∑ British ministers should lobby members of the OECD to safeguard existing definitions of aid. ∑ Donor governments and military forces in conflicts must respect and uphold the neutrality of humanitarian action. Contributors include Catholic MP John Battle MP (Leeds West) who has just returned from Afghanistan from a trip hosted by Christian Aid, and Philip Okin, a Ugandan who works for The Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative (ARLPI). The full report can be found at
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