Jesuits see G8 summit as lost opportunity for refugees

 The Jesuit Refugee Services have said that steps vital for the future of Africa which could have helped resolve the refugee crisis in many countries did not get approval at the G8 summit. In a statement they say the following issues were ignored: - Duties on goods: nothing was done about the high duties imposed on goods from African countries. - Debt cancellation: African leaders had asked for between $15bn and $20bn for debt relief but will only get an extra $1bn. - Development Aid: $35 bn was asked for but the G8 merely agreed to assign to Africa half of an already pledged $12bn in development aid. - Infrastructure: the question of investment in Africa's infrastructure was not tackled. "The results are disappointing and much more was needed," said JRS Europe director John Dardis. "Europe is prepared to spend billions of euros on control of its borders but can't find the money to address the root causes of migration. When you put the results of the G8 summit with the results from the Seville summit, it has not been a good month for refugees." The NEPAD plan of the African leaders had made very positive recommendations. African leaders were willing to commit to key democratic and human rights reform. The G8 failed to match this. They need to underpin reform in Africa with radical world economic reform. "Economic development within an increased respect for human rights is the way forward for Africa," said John Dardis. "Only in this way will intractable refugee situations in Africa be resolved." If poverty in Africa is to be cut in half (the goal set by the UN Development programme for 2015), the average growth rate in Africa has to double. And if this is to be achieved, Africa needs faster debt relief, better trade terms, the end of market-distorting subsidies and better access to markets for African countries. The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is an international Catholic NGO working in around 50 countries, with over twenty years of experience in forced migration.

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