Mittwoch, 24. Oktober 2007

IMF: Keep Your Promise to Liberia

Today we can take action on a critical international situation ripped from the headlines.

As the Financial Times reports:

The International Monetary Fund faced harsh criticism on Thursday for failing to meet its commitment to write off $800m in debt owed by Liberia, as Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the country's leader, met US president George W. Bush in Washington.

And from the BBC:

Forgiveness of the old debt would allow the IMF to issue new development loans.

Correspondents say it is widely agreed that Liberia's arrears should be paid off, but there is still some wrangling about the financial details.

This broken promise of debt relief threatens the future of Liberia, a country struggling to make democracy work after a bloody civil war, and lift its people out of poverty. Send an email to the International Monetary Fund today and tell them to keep their promise and forgive the debt.

Founded by freed American slaves, Liberia was the first republic in modern Africa. Tragically, in the last 30 years the people of Liberia have suffered through a military dictatorship and two civil wars that killed more than 270,000 people.

Today, Liberia is on the right path. In 2006, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf became the first African woman to be elected a head of state. She is an expert on development—she worked for the World Bank and UN Development Program—and on Liberia's recent troubled history, having been jailed twice and driven into exile for opposing a repressive government.

It is an outrage that 18 months have passed since the IMF committed to writing off Liberia's debt. Send a message to the IMF and let them know that as a citizen of the fund's largest donor country—you know that the time for action is now.

Much of that $800 million in debt was accumulated by Dictator Samuel Kanyon Doe, whose repressive regime tore the nation apart. Now, President Johnson-Sirleaf and the Liberian government are working hard to revive the Liberian economy and meet the tough benchmarks demanded by the IMF.

Liberia has kept its promise. Tell the IMF to act in good faith, end the unfair 18 month wait and make good on its promise of debt relief now.

Over the last two weeks, almost 50,000 ONE members sent letters and made over 4,000 phone calls to Congress in support of a major piece of debt relief legislation, the Jubilee Act. We're working to pass the Jubilee Act and end this impasse at the IMF—all at the same time—because debt relief works. Mozambique used its savings from debt relief to vaccinate half a million children against tetanus, whooping cough and diphtheria, and to build and wire schools for electricity.

These are the success stories that inspire us to push forward and demand better from our own leaders and international bodies like the IMF. Take action now and then take a moment to imagine what Liberia will accomplish with the weight of this crushing and undeserved debt lifted off its shoulders.

Thank you for your voice,

Josh Peck,

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