CAFOD director speaks on Genoa summit

 In the run up to the G8 summit this weekend in Genoa, CAFOD's Director Julian Filochowski has urged the world's richest nations to live up to their commitments on debt cancellation. Despite previous pledges from G8 nations for 100 percent cancellation for the world's poorest countries, only about a third of their debt has been written off. Filochowski told a press conference in London yesterday: "It is an obscenity that those with the least are still paying money to those with the most. "Promises have been broken. Only a fraction of the $100 billion promised at the G8 Summit in Cologne two years ago has been delivered. Most poor nations entitled to debt relief are paying more in debt servicing than on vitally needed health care and education. In the context of stemming the spreading HIV/AIDS pandemic, policies that limit expenditure increases in these areas are grossly irresponsible and unjust." Hundreds of CAFOD campaigners are making the journey to Genoa to raise the issue of debt. Filochowski said CAFOD campaigners and others will be looking to the G8 for a sign of leadership. "Leadership of the G8 carries with it responsibilities. When more and more people are questioning the legitimacy of the G8 acting as the barons of the global economy, we say that this is an historic opportunity to reach out to the world's poorest. It is not sufficient to come up with paper thin aid plans for low income countries when they are floundering in a debt servicing regime that stifles their opportunities to lift themselves out of poverty." Drop the Debt's Director Adrian Lovett also spoke at the press conference. He addressed the issue of what threat violent protesters posed to the peaceful anti-debt campaigners in Genoa. Lovett said: "We have worked closely with the Italian government to ensure that our supporters will be in no danger. We have taken every provision possible apart from boycotting the event to ensure our people are not involved in any of the violence. It is essential that we not boycott the event, because we have to give a voice to the voiceless, to ensure that the debt is finally and completely cancelled." The main CAFOD event in Genoa will be a vigil at the church of San Antonnio Boccadasse, followed by a march through the city. Among those in the CAFOD party will be Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue of Lancaster.

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