You are herePetition: A Christian Call For Forgiveness of Haiti's Debt

Petition: A Christian Call For Forgiveness of Haiti's Debt

By Steven Martin - Posted on 19 January 2010

Please sign this petition as a way of showing your support for debt relief for Haiti. This petition will be delivered to President Obama.

At this moment of great tragedy in Haiti, we are called by the teachings of our Lord to respond in a spirit of compassion for the grieving, the injured and the displaced, and to take action to alleviate their suffering.

In his inaugural act of public ministry, Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Luke 4:18-19, NRSV),” adding that “today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

We do not believe this memory was recorded by chance, but rather that it recounts the central concern of Jesus: that God has a special concern for the poor of the world and desires that those in captivity be set free.  In light of this, as well as the Biblical teaching that every human is precious in God’s sight (Ps. 8), we believe God's desire for freedom is not limited to the spiritual, but extends to all matters of human life.  We believe that one way in which people are held captive today is through crushing indebtedness that denies freedom and limits the potential of individuals, communities and nations.  We believe that Jesus calls us to work together to set free those who are held captive by debt.

This call is especially acute in times of crisis. In light of the catastrophic earthquake and the destruction of Haiti’s already fragile infrastructure, we, the undersigned, call upon all nations and institutions that have made loans to the Haitian government to quickly and completely forgive these debts.

We congratulate the government of Haiti for completing the requirements of the Heavily-Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative that allowed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to forgive $1.2B of Haiti's $1.9B debt in June 2009.

We thank the United States for its forgiveness of $12M in loans in September 2009.

We commend the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for granting Haiti $511 million in debt cancellation in 2009.

We call for the (IDB) to forgive its loans to Haiti, which account for the remaining $441M of its multilateral debt.

We call for the debts owed by Haiti to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to be forgiven.

We call for the U.S. State Department to use its influence to encourage other governments to forgive all debts between Haiti and lender nations.

We call for all disaster assistance and reconstruction payments to Haiti to come in the form of aid, not new loans, so the cycle of borrowing and repayment that has so crippled the nation of Haiti since its independence will not begin anew.

We call for the leaders of Haiti to follow Jesus' example of service, moral behavior and humility, and to work to end corruption. We call the leaders of Haiti to use all forms of foreign assistance to save lives and, in the long term, better the lives of the Haitian people.

Most of all, we pledge our prayers to the people affected so deeply by this recent disaster, we ask our fellow Christians to be in prayer also, and we will seek ways for our churches to aid in the rebuilding of the nation of Haiti.

Richard Cizik, President, New Evangelical Partnership
David Gushee, Chair, New Evangelical Partnership
Steven Martin, Executive Director, New Evangelical Partnership

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