Our work continues to win a true Jubilee for the most vulnerable and real solutions to the international debt crisis for all of us. Together, we have won 8 victories this year, we’ve increased our profile and expanded our grassroots membership by 400%.
Please enjoy a review of some of our work in depth when you read our e-updates and actions below. Because we have so many updates and actions, when you get to the bottom you will need to click the link to read the rest of the updates.
We Stopped Vulture Funds in New York State; Courts Stopped Them in the UK
In June, Jubilee USA launched a campaign to stop vulture fund legislation from passing in the New York State Legislature. Vulture funds were attempting to get Bills through that would have promoted and protected vulture funds in New York State courts, making it easier for vultures to litigate poor countries into submission.
Jubilee mobilized more than 4,000 New York Jubilee members to take action, calling and writing their Assembly Members and Senators to stand with the poor and not with the hedge funds.
The Wall Street Journal’s Jacob Gersham wrote how important our work was: “The path became trickier for Elliott on Friday, when an alliance of religious groups that supports debt relief for developing nations, Jubilee USA Network, entered the fray by issuing a mass alert about the bill. It said the proposed law could be wielded in poorer regions and “litigate poor countries into submission.” Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal.
In a surprise decision in the Jersey Isles, the UK's Privy Council overturned a prior ruling, siding with the Democratic Republic of Congo against vulture fund FG Hemisphere. FG Hemisphere was seeking $100 million from the DRC for a debt the vulture fund bought for just $3 million. While having initially lost the case, the DRC has won on final appeal. While the UK passed a law in 2010 limiting the amount a vulture fund could claim from impoverished countries, it did not apply to crown protectorates, like Jersey, where vultures funds could still pursue cases. This decision was pleasantly unexpected and a cause for celebration.
Jubilee for Students
As the debt crisis continues to spread from the Global South to the North, we began hearing increasingly from our regional chapters, faith communities and individual supporters that we must also address issues around debt and lending in the US. As we continue to work on international responsible lending and borrowing and on the impact of debts in the developing world, we also are making connections to student loans in the US. The sense of austerity that has wreaked havoc on the poorest is also challenging too many of us at home.
On July 1, 2012, student loan interest rates were set to double for almost 7.5 million students unless Congress took action. Jubilee organized thousands to write, e-mail and call their Members of Congress urging for students to be protected from high debt burdens. On the weekend of June 24th, Jubilee brought together over 40 faith communities to pray and act for students. They delivered thousands of petitions to Congressional offices in their home districts and on Capitol Hill. Eric went to the White House to see President Obama about the issue. You can read his blog in Sojourners here. The day that Congress was set to recess for the July 4th holiday, and only two days before the rise in interest rates was to take hold, Congress voted to keep the interest rate low and a victory for students’ future was won! Click here to learn more and to download our resource packet. Our coalition helped Republicans and Democrats to reach across the aisle to get this done.
Jubilee at the G8 and G20
Four days before the G8 Summit at Camp David, Jubilee USA’s Executive Director Eric LeCompte met with the US’ G8/G20 Sherpa and Deputy National Security Advisor Michael Froman and Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of the National Security Council Gayle Smith at the White House. Eric delivered a letter addressed to Mr. Froman calling for the G8 to support the creation of a fair and transparent debt workout mechanism. The letter reiterated the message of Jubilee’s launched petition that was signed by more than 8,000 economists, religious leaders and Jubilee members to President Obama and President Felipe Calder, as Chairs of the G8 and G20.
During the weekend of May 18th, the G8 met at Camp David and Jubilee USA, along with other communities, hosted teach-ins and other events to raise awareness about the summit. Jubilee USA’s Outreach and Congregations Fellow, Jeremy Weyl, participated in a panel for the Occupy G8 People’s Summit held in Frederick, MD, right outside Camp David. Jeremy spoke about how a fair and transparent arbitration process was vital to ensure increased accountability and equity in the international financial realm.
For the G20 that was held this June in Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico, Jubilee USA and our partners pushed the G20 to implement real solutions to the international debt crisis. Jubilee USA delivered a petition signed by thousands to the Mexican Embassy in Washington, DC urging the G20 to support mechanisms in accordance with a fair and transparent arbitration process. Our message was well received during our meeting with two representatives from the Office of Economic Affairs to explain the urgent need for a fair, orderly and transparent international debt arbitration process. The petition was delivered to Mexico's Minister of Finance.
Our partners from Jubilee Germany organized a similar petition that was delivered to the Mexican Embassy in Berlin and signed by citizens across Europe. See more about their action and see images here.
World Bank Takes Steps Forward for Transparency
We can celebrate a true victory for transparency due to a recent ruling at the World Bank. The World Bank will now provide an in-depth review behind decisions to sanction companies and individuals accused of fraud, corruption and collusion.
Our Executive Director noted: "This is a great move by the World Bank and everyone wins with this decision," said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network. "NGOs, businesses and governments can now better monitor patterns of fraud and corruption. Most importantly, the poor will benefit as this reporting further helps curb this behavior and ensures that resources are not stolen from the developing world."
This move towards greater transparency is one step closer towards increased accountability in international financial institutions and the international financial system. In the past, the World Bank has only published the names of firms or individuals being sanctioned without any mention of reasoning. With the release of full decisions, the ability to monitor and track corruption in World Bank funded projects increases, hopefully acting as a deterrent to misconduct in future Bank development projects. Read Inter Press News Service’s article and our press release to learn more.
Weighing In on How to Support Low-Income Countries
This past month, the IMF sought suggestions from civil society, academics and the private sector on how the Fund can best support low-income countries. Jubilee USA joined a letter authored by our Norwegian Counterparts, the Norwegian Coalition for Debt Cancellation or SLUG. These suggestions included expanding criteria used to judge a country’s indebtedness to include not only a nation’s ability to repay debts, but also the impact debt repayment would have on a nation’s ability to alleviate poverty and promote human rights, urging for the creation of a risk rating for private debt, and using the Principles on Promoting Responsible Lending and Borrowing to guide financial interaction between the Fund and Low-Income Countries. The letter containing these suggestions was submitted as part of the consultation process for the IMF and was signed by a number of civil society organizations.
Argentina’s Economic Recovery and Sovereign Debt Event
On June 11th, Jubilee USA co-sponsored an event with the government of Argentina on Argentina's economic recovery and sovereign debt. On the panel, Eric LeCompte, Jubilee's Executive Director spoke about Vulture Funds. See Jubilee's recent work on Vulture Funds highlighted in the Wall Street Journal. Jubilee was joined by Argentina’s Secretary of Treasury, Hernan Lorenzino, the Ambassador of the Argentine Republic to the United States, H.E. Jorge Arguello and Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). Watch the full video.
Congressional Briefing: The Responsible Borrowing and Lending Imperative
On March 1st, Jubilee USA held a congressional briefing on our new report, The Responsible Lending and Borrowing Imperative: Addressing the Root Causes of Poverty. Aldo Caliari, director of the Rethinking Bretton Woods Project of the Catholic Center of Concern and Jubilee Board Member, presented the report. As we prepare to introduce the Jubilee Act into Congress, we are ramping up advocacy efforts to urge the US government to adopt principles of responsible lending and borrowing.
This report utilizes case studies of low-income countries’ struggles with debt to explain the immediate necessity of implementing the proposed principles of responsible lending and borrowing. By increasing transparency and accountability in both international lending and international borrowing, these principles will help end the perpetual cycle of debt and poverty that developing nations continue to find themselves in.
Many of our partners have also taken up the cause of getting the word out about the principles of responsible lending and borrowing. EURODAD released a charter detailing the principles of responsible lending and borrowing in 2008 and Jubilee Oregon and Jubilee Zambia have recently released a report on these principles using Zambia as a case study.
The Jubilee Act
Jubilee USA is working with Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to introduce the Jubilee Act. In a political environment often stymied by political division, Jubilee USA and our issues have continued to receive strong support from Members of both parties. The Jubilee Act has been introduced into past Congresses, like the 111th and 110th (where it passed the House) with strong bipartisan support. This year, the Jubilee Act is focusing more exclusively on the principles of responsible lending and borrowing to get to the root cause of international debt and global poverty, and to help put a permanent end to the cycle of poor country indebtedness.
Major Victory with Doha Accord!
Celebration is in order after a huge victory for the principles of responsible lending and borrowing was won in Doha, Qatar at the United Nations Committee on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) meetings. This round of UNCTAD meetings was crucial to the future vision and responsibilities of UNCTAD - and subsequently debt relief - as financial ministers and representatives from the around the world met to discuss the organization’s mandate, and thus set the course for its future work. In the week leading up the Doha meetings, negotiating documents came to light indicating that some developed countries were seeking to weaken, or even eliminate, debt, financial reforms and further consensus building on the principles of responsible lending and borrowing from UNCTAD’s mandate. UNCTAD has long been a leading forum for consensus building on debt relief initiatives, like HIPC and MDRI, that have led to hundreds of billions of dollars in debt relief.
Eric LeCompte was hosted by UNCTAD in Doha to moderate a panel featuring 11 treasury heads and other high-level governmental financial representatives from around the globe to speak in support of UNCTAD’s principles of responsible lending and borrowing. Jubilee USA and Jubilee Network Council Members met with key decision makers at the White House, Treasury and State Department before the Doha meetings and during the negotiations in Qatar to encourage the US to voice support for keeping UNCTAD’s mandate. And we won! (Read our thank you letter to the Administration).
The Doha Mandate, agreed upon by governments from the Global North and Global South alike, supports continued consensus building on issues of debt, financial reforms, and the principles of responsible lending and borrowing and looks toward “development-centered” growth.
Ireland: “Not Our Loans!”
On the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, leprechauns descended upon the Irish Embassy representing the Anglo-Irish Bank and the European Central Bank (ECB). The leprechauns hoarded pots of gold which symbolized money taken from the citizens of Ireland to cover reckless loans and debts. Jubilee USA Network, along with religious and policy organizations, delivered a letter to the Irish Embassy calling for the Irish leaders to suspend government payments on these loans, which will add up to $61.7 billion over the next twenty years. The citizens of Ireland are dealing with a damaged economy already, and are now being held responsible for loans run up by an irresponsible and now-dead Anglo bank. With a bit of luck, the Irish people will not be forced to pay this unjust debt, saving them billions of dollars to be put back into their economy and social services.
We successfully delivered a letter signed by a number of our partners, policy and faith groups urging the Irish government to stop unjust payments to the ECB for a now dead Anglo-Irish Bank. We were covered in the Huffington Post with a St. Patrick's Day op-ed from one of Jubilee Founders, Rev. Seamus Finn, OMI and Jubilee Executive Director Eric LeCompte. We were covered by various news sources, like NBC, Fox, Inter Press Service and The Hill. You can also read more on Jubilee's blog, Blog the Debt.
To learn more about the Irish debt, here are some helpful links from our partners, Jubilee Ireland: video on promissory notes, fact sheet, Jubilee Ireland's press release, video on Anglo debt impact on women, video on the debt, another video on promissory note primer.
Standing Up for Accountability and Transparency Against Big Oil
Together with the ONE Campaign and Publish What You Pay, Jubilee USA delivered over 110,000 signatures urging the SEC to implement the rules and regulations that were laid out in the Cardin-Lugar (Dodd-Frank) Amendment, passed over a year and a half ago, requiring that companies reveal what they pay for extraction of oil, gas and minerals in foreign countries to the SEC. The SEC has yet to set these rules, mainly because big oil has been lobbying against. The Cardin-Lugar Amendment was a coup for transparency in international finances and a step to help curb corruption, and should be implemented in the true spirit of the law. With the delivery of the petitions, we told the SEC to stand up against big oil and stand up for the world’s most vulnerable.
IMF Gold Sales: We Won $1.1 billion for the World's Poorest
Following windfall sales of almost $3 billion in IMF gold sales, Jubilee led a campaign to urge the IMF to use those profits to extend debt relief. Jubilee met with the Executive Directors of the IMF, delivered thousands of petitions and staged an action outside the IMF to bring attention to this issue. The action received coverage in major news sources, like Reuters. Because of our work, we got the IMF to dedicate the first distribution of those gold sales - $1.1 billion - to debt relief initiatives! But our work isn't done yet as we need to move the IMF to deliver the last 1.6 billion dollars of windfall gold sales profit to the world’s most vulnerable.
Jubilee Won Legislation to Curb Tax Havens
Jubilee USA and the FACT Coalition (Financial Accountability and Transparency) won a victory in the Senate in March, when the Senate took a stand against one of the largest revenue drains facing developing nations today - tax avoidance. Amendment 1818, the Levin Amendment, passed the Senate and is a blow against corruption, secrecy and tax avoidance that aims to end the use and abuse of off-shore tax havens. These tax havens help large corporations and corrupt individuals avoid paying a fair share of taxes to the nations they operate in. In fact, an estimated $160 billion is lost in tax revenue in developing countries due to the use of off-shore tax havens. This amendment gives law enforcement officials tools to stop financial institutions in tax havens from aiding US tax cheats, and help put an end to developing country tax avoidance.
Amendment 1818 was the first floor vote that any of FACT's issue areas has seen and it was victorious! In just a year, the FACT Coalition, which Jubilee USA helped to found in 2011, is succeeding in pushing lawmakers to enact real changes! Thanks to the work that FACT and Jubilee USA put into raising awareness among Members and advocating for an end to tax haven abuse, the Senate heard us, listened and has taken important steps forward for justice!
Jubilee and FACT have also helped introduce five Bills into Congress this year. These Bills would help end tax havens and close loopholes in the international tax system that cost developing nations billions in tax revenue annually. That revenue could help struggling nations build vital programs like education and healthcare. Jubilee’s work in the FACT Coalition was highlighted in the Wall Street Journal after Jubilee organized the largest number of signatories to a letter against a repatriation tax holiday for corporations.
The United States: A Tax Haven?
Jubilee has been campaigning to curb tax havens that take money from the poor and support corruption across the world. New Rules for Global Finance, a member of Jubilee USA’s Network Council and led by one of Jubilee USA’s founders, Jo Marie Griesgraber, recently hosted an event “The US: A Tax Haven?” While the idea of a tax haven may elicit images of tropical islands with lax tax laws, the New Rule’s event shed light on the fact that a number of the worst tax havens are here in the United States.
Moderated by Jo Marie, the panel of Jack Blum, Chairman, Tax Justice Network USA, Liane Schalatek, Associate Director, Heinrich Boell Foundation, Leslie Wayne, Journalism Professor at Columbia and NYU, and Rebecca Wilkins, Senior Counsel for Federal Tax Policy, Citizens for Tax Justice, discussed the impact tax havens have both here in the US and globally. To learn more about this issue and watch video of the event, click here.
Jubilee at the United Nations
Eric LeCompte represents Jubilee USA as an expert in two UN groups. The UN Committee on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and The United Nations High Commission on Human Rights. In these capacities, Jubilee USA Network consults on international standards of resposnisble lending and borrowing and debt through the lens of human rights. Out of these two expert working groups, we helped develop international standards of responsible lending and borrowing and the Guiding Principles on Foreign Debt and Human Rights. Jubilee USA is working for binding international outcomes on the principles of responsible lending and borrowing.
A New International Financial Architecture: A Fair and Transparent Debt Workout Mechanism
While domestically there are court procedures in place to assist in the event of bankruptcy, there are no such mechanisms for international debt. Instituting a set of procedures that are independent, fair and pre-existing debt crisis may be lessened or avoided. Jubilee USA Network and many of our partners have been urging members of the G20 to consider creating a Fair and Transparent Debt Workout Mechanism.
On March 23-26, Jubilee USA co-coordinated the Global Economic Justice workshops for this year's Ecumenical Advocacy Days conference in Washington, D.C. This year's theme for the conference, "Is This the Fast I Seek: Economy, Livelihood and our National Priorities," explored how to affect policy to create a just global economy to break the chains of injustice and poverty. Jubilee USA Network’s Executive Director, Eric LeCompte participated in two panels, where he called for a need for an international debt court.
In February, Eric LeCompte traveled to Ecuador on behalf of the financial ministry, Jubilee Ecuador and LatinDAD to speak about the need for a new International Financial Architecture. Click here to read his remarks.
Defuse the Debt Campaign
In addition to our work in the United States, Jubilee USA helped to launch the Defuse the Debt Crises campaign with 40 of our international partners. This effort will help coordinate actions worldwide to push for an international sovereign debt workout mechanism. Working together, Jubilee USA and our international partners are making big waves!
Dr. Jim Yong Kim – A New World Bank President?
On March 23, 2012, the White House revealed that the US nominee for World Bank President would be Dr. Jim Yong Kim. On April 16, 2012, the World Bank announced that Dr. Kim is the next President of the World Bank. Historically, the US government selects the World Bank President, but this marks the first time the US Government was pushed to consider several candidates. Additionally, Dr. Kim is the first President to emerge from a pro-poor background and not from Wall Street or Washington.
Dr. Kim’s presidency signifies a welcome change to World Bank leadership. He has a clear lifelong commitment to the world’s poorest through numerous global health initiatives, including founding Partners in Health, which works to bring needed medical attention into some of the world’s most impoverished locales. In short, there is great hope that Dr. Kim’s presidency will lead the World Bank back toward its most fundamental goal: eliminating global poverty.
Prior to President Obama’s official announcement of Dr. Kim as the US nominee for World Bank President, Jeffrey Sachs, noted development economist, publically announced that he was campaigning to receive the nomination. This campaign brought to light a number of the issues surrounding the nomination process that groups like Jubilee USA have been raising, including a lack of transparency or any sort of public input. Jubilee USA organized two conference calls with Jeffrey Sachs and with US partner organizations and international partner organizations. This allowed civil society access to the self-nominated Sachs and to ask tough questions of the Presidential hopeful. Jeffrey Sachs’ public campaign helped to facilitate a discussion about and highlight these problems.
Sudanese Debt Relief
July 9, 2011 marked the first day of existence for the nation of South Sudan. Following nearly 22 years of conflict in the region, and some 1.5 million deaths, the southern part of Sudan voted its way to independence and autonomy, hoping to begin anew as an independent nation. Independence, however, is not necessarily a cure-all for the region.
One manner in which the international community can lend support to the new nation and the region in general is through debt relief. As part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005, the US and international community made a commitment to honor Sudanese debt relief through the High Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative, if Sudan meets certain conditions. The President’s FY-13 budget includes $250 million in Sudanese debt relief, which will go towards the US’ prior commitment. Debt relief has the potential to help aid stability in the region, especially for South Sudan. As tensions on the boarder between South Sudan and Sudan have continued, debt relief is an important tool the US can use to aid the region and support human rights in Sudan.
Declaring Syria Illegitimate to Help its Citizens
As the world continues to witness atrocities performed by the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, Jubilee USA Network has had highlevel meetings with Treasury, State and the White House to declare Syria an illegitimate regime. The Center for Global Development, has developed guidelines to declare Syria illegitimate. Jubilee USA Network helped create these guidelines. With this declaration, any financial transactions entered into with the al-Assad government would be illegitimate and would not have to be honored by any successor government, meaning any loans or agreements would not have to be paid back or honored. Threatening illegitimacy could prove a useful tool to put pressure on the Syrian government to end its continued human rights abuses if access to credit markets will be severely impeded, and could provide useful in declaring past debt accumulated by al-Assad odious in the future. The citizens of Syria are under the rule of a non-representative and abusive regime and loans contracted by that government should not be passed on to any future representative governments.
Financial Transaction Tax
Across the globe, groups of green suited Merry Men, in the style of Robin Hood, can be found calling upon governments to instate (and in many cases, like the US, reinstate) a Financial Transactions Tax (FTT). The Robin Hood Tax, as it’s been dubbed, is a small tax on the sale of stocks, bonds, derivatives and the like that would be two fold in its benefit: 1.) Create revenue for countries, and 2.) Slow the high-speed, high-risk trading that spurred the recent world-wide economic downturn. Twenty-nine countries, including Brazil, India, and the UK already have an FTT and a number of other EU countries have pledged to adopt the tax by the end of 2012.
One of Jubilee USA Network’s member organizations, The Institute for Policy Studies, has been a global leader in moving forward the creation of the FTT. Jubilee USA Network is a part of several campaigns to promote the FTT and supported letters and petitions to US and global policy makers. A letter signed by 52 financial industry professionals, including former senior executives of JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, demonstrates that support for an FTT is growing.
Director of Jubilee Kenyan Counterpart Named One of Newsweek’s 150 Fearless Women
Wahu Kaara, director of Kenya Debt Relief (Jubilee USA’s Kenyan Counterpart), was recently named one of Newsweek’s 150 Fearless Women from around the world. She joined other figures ranging from Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, three 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winners and Egyptian revolutionary, Samira Ibrahim.
Kenya Debt Relief has a pairing relationship with Jubilee San Diego. Wahu Kaara was born during the height of Kenya's independence struggle and was our featured speaker for Jubilee USA's Drop the Debt Tour in 2010.
Debt Audit for Pakistan
Pakistan’s National Assembly has declared that a house committee would begin a debt audit of Pakistan’s public debt. This announcement comes after decades of finger pointing between the two major political parties who blame one another for the country’s debt. The audit will examine loans from 1985, when a civilian cabinet took office under military president General Ziaul Haq.
Our partners from the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt in Pakistan first brought the idea of a debt audit to the government’s attention in 2010 following massive flooding in Pakistan. Jubilee USA Network led a strong effort in the United States for a moratorium on Pakistan’s debt payments during that time. Read more about Jubilee USA Network’s Pakistan efforts in our press releases here and here. We and our partners hope that this is the beginning steps towards a formal debt audit commission that would examine all Pakistani debt. Debt audits expose the origins and use of past loans and provide evidence of odious and unjust debt- debt that should be forgiven. The majority of Pakistan’s debt was taken under corrupt regimes and military dictatorships.
Ivory Coast to Receive Debt Relief
Last month, the IMF and World Bank announced that Côte d’Ivoire will receive over $4 billion in debt relief through the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). The country struggled with civil war and widespread poverty during the last decades of the 20th Century. Côte d’Ivoire’s poor economic condition was compounded by extreme external debt as nearly 1/3 of its revenue was spent on annual debt repayment. Between 1985 and 1998, the percentage of people living under less than one dollar a day increased from 25% to 50%.
In order to have reached the completion point of HIPC and receive full debt relief, Côte d’Ivoire had to meet IMF-implemented requirements that included harsh austerity measures and privatization. Because loans taken out in the past eight years and those loans from private creditors are not being cancelled, debt servicing could rise back to one-fifth of government revenue. Read Eric LeCompte’s assessment and our press release carried in AllAfrica.com.
Archbishop Silvano: Vatican UN Human Rights Council Statement On Debt and Lending
In June, the Vatican’s Geneva Ambassador and Apostolic Nuncio to the United Nations, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, delivered a speech on the Guiding Principles on Foreign Debt and Human Rights. Eric LeCompte was a part of the UN expert group that developed these principles. For more then a year, Jubilee USA Network has forged a special relationship with the Archbishop on working on international financial reforms, responsible lending and borrowing and human rights. The work of Archbishop Tomasi and his staff have been vital for passing the Doha Mandate and looking at economic issues through a human rights lens.
Recently, Eric LeCompte commented on the work of Archbishop Tomasi, “He’s one of those guys that makes me proud to be a person of faith, proud to be Catholic. He is the diplomat’s diplomat; watching him work a room from Qatar to Geneva is an inspiring experience. We are lucky when he’s in the room with the decision makers during last call. He reminds us that the world’s most vulnerable should always come first.”
The Archbishop’s statement supports that human rights criteria “can be an important tool for moving development from the narrow “economic” or material understanding to one based on integral human development …” Read some of the press coverage on the Archbishop’s speech and read the full statement.
Lifting Up Voices from the Front Lines: Zimbabwe Counterparts Travel the United States, Lobby Congress and the US Administration
Our global partners from the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) arrived in the US in April for the End the Debt Crisis speaking tour. Jubilee Chapters in Oregon and Massachusetts hosted Hopewell Gumbo and Kelvin Hazanwgi at universities, churches and homes to make deeper connections and inform our communities about the intersections of debt, alternative development and human rights in Zimbabwe.
Kelvin and Hopewell travelled through Portland, Oregon, Boston, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. to meet with civil society organizations and representatives from the World Bank, IMF, the US Department of Treasury, Congressional offices and the Administration. They met with key Congressional offices and had a high level meeting with Scott Morris, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Developmental Policy and Debt at the US Treasury to talk about Zimbabwe’s struggle with debt, development and the intersection with human rights. These meetings were a chance to educate policy makers here in the US about global economic policy that entraps the Global South in a cycle of poverty and the need to make real, structural changes to the international financial system, like debt audits and implanting principles of responsible lending and borrowing.
The tour was a great success but it started with startling events. The day Hopewell Gumbo, one of the leading human rights and social justice activists from Zimbabwe, was to board his plane in Zimbabwe, he received notification that his visa was cancelled - weeks after his visa had been confirmed. They cited his most recent conviction in a political court case, when Hopewell was arrested in Harare for speaking at an event where they showed footage of transformative events that happened in Egypt and Tunisia. Hopewell's visa had been confirmed earlier after an in-person interview in which he had openly discussed this unjust arrest.
On hearing the news, the Jubilee team sprung into action, and within a few hours, his visa had been renewed through our efforts alongside several Members of Congress who put in inquiries with the State Department and called the U.S. embassy in Harare. Hopewell was late for some of the tour because of this outrageous change, but ultimately arrived in the US and met with Congressional Members, university students, faith communities and successfully cultivating the beginning of a Linking Our Voices initiative between our chapters, Jubilee Massachusetts and Jubilee Oregon and ZIMCODD.
Linking our Neighbors
Jubilee USA is calling for all of our supporters to take an important step in continuing to build our social justice movement in 2012. If you have been reading our emails over the years, but haven't quite introduced the vision of justice and Jubilee to your congregation, community organization, friends or family, now is the time! Or, if you have an active congregation and community, it's time to reach out to your neighbors. Co-organize an action with a new community, encourage community members to contact Jubilee USA Network about recent events, attend the service, or make connecting with a new community or your own as an important action for justice. Click here to learn more.
Last year’s Jubilee Weekend had over 50 events organized in all corners of the country to support global financial justice! This year, Jubilee Weekend will be October 14th. It will be in partnership with Illegitimate Debt Week, a worldwide initiative to draw attention to the unjust burden of debt on poor countries. Learn how you can get involved in the 2012 Jubilee Weekend.
Many of those taking actions in solidarity were members of our Jubilee Congregations program. Jubilee Congregations are faith communities from all different denominations and from all across the country who are linking voices and lending support to break the chains of debt and poverty in the developing world by becoming more deeply involved in the work of Jubilee USA Network. Learn how your congregation can become a Jubilee Congregation!
On the weekend of May 18th, Jubilee USA had our second annual Jubilee Shabbat. On that weekend, the first passage of the Torah that depicts "the call to Jubilee" was read in Jewish communities across the US. A dozen Jewish communities celebrated the weekend with prayer, reflection and action around issues of global economic justice, like putting pressure on the G20 along with other Jubilee activists.
1,000 Faith Leaders' Initiative
After launching earlier this year, there are now over 1,500 faith leaders signed on to the 1,000 Faith Leaders’ letter calling on the White House to help end global poverty by reforming the International Financial Institutions and enacting principles of responsible lending and borrowing. This letter will be hand delivered to top administration officials at the White House by the faith leaders themselves!
Renewing Our Call to Jubilee
In March, Eric LeCompte traveled to Eastern Mennonite University to speak about steps towards renewing our call to the Jubilee. He informed the students on our work towards equity between local and global communities, unjust debt, and the essential mechanisms, like the international debt court, that can help us cultivate right relationships. Students not only learned about the global jubilee movement and our efforts to pave the way towards eradication of poverty, but also took action by signing petitions to the G8 and G20. Listen to Eric's speech.
Meet Jubilee's Member Organizations
Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 75 religious denominations and faith communities, human rights, environmental, labor and community groups working on global economic reforms to benefit the world’s poorest. These groups range from the Presbyterian Church USA to the American-Jewish World Service to the AFL-CIO. (See our featured member organizations to the right).
The International Movement
Jubilee USA Network is a part of a global coalition with partners in 50 countries. Jubilee USA serves as a part of the global coordination committee of our international movement. We also work with regional networks in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. Learn more about some of our partners: Eurodad, AFRODAD,LATINDADD, Jubilee South, ZIMCODD, JCRT/Jubilee Zambia, Jubilee Peru, Jubilee Germany, Jubilee Bolivia, Jubilee Asia Pacific, Action Finanzplatzwiss, Jubilee Ecuador, Jubilee UK, Jubilee Ireland and Kenya Debt Relief.
Blog the Debt
Jubilee USA’s blog, Blog the Debt, is a great way to keep up-to-date on Jubilee issues. With recent blog topics ranging from odious debt in the DRC, to Jubilee’s work around the student loan crisis, or to recap an event Jubilee co-sponsored with the Embassy of Argentina, Blog the Debt follows a wide range of debt and economic justice issues to keep you informed of recent developments and a part of the Jubilee movement conversation. With new and informative posts going up all the time, the best way to stay informed is by signing up for action alerts.
Jubilee in the News
In addition to direct contact with policy makers, Jubilee USA is currently featured in many prominent news sources, including the Wall Street Journal, Catholic News Service, Bloomberg, Yes! Magazine, Reuters, PoliticalNews, Catholic Moral Theology, Accounting Today, Huffington Post, the Hill, the Inter Press Service, All Africa, Fox, U.S. Catholic, National Catholic Reporter and NBC. Jubilee USA has over 1,500 likes on Facebook! Join us on Facebook, Twitter and sign up for our blog alerts.
Work at Jubilee USA
Looking for a way to spend your fall? Intern or volunteer for Jubilee! We are currently looking for fall interns.
Meet the Jubilee Team
How Your Support Helps
Even on a nickel-and-dime budget, Jubilee USA Network is able to make huge victories for the world’s poorest in the international financial system. By allocating over 80% of our funding to programming, we are getting decision makers to consider real and sustainable solutions to address the root causes of the international debt crisis.
As we are witnessing debt crises spreading from the Global South to the Global North, your contribution allows us to break the chains of debt and achieve structural changes that will make the lives of millions living in the Global South better.
Thank you for your support and partnership.
Jubilee USA Network - 212 East Capitol St NE - Washington, DC 20003 - (202) 783-3566 - firstname.lastname@example.org