Jesuits call for the poor to be prioritised during COVID-19.
Jesuit Provincials are calling for the debts of the most vulnerable countries to be cancelled so they can survive COVID-19. Jesuit Missions have also created a petition urging the UK government to ensure that developing countries can access COVID-19 vaccines once they are available.
The coronavirus pandemic is hitting poorest people the hardest. Low- and middle-income countries are experiencing the detrimental socio-economic effects of COVID-19. According to the Financial Times, India’s economy, which is the fifth-largest in the world, shrank by a quarter in the three months.
There are currently 64 developing countries spending more on debt payments to other governments or institutions than on their own countries’ healthcare (CAFOD, 2020). As a result, Jesuit Missions is supporting Jesuit European Provincials in calling on the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to cancel the debt of low-income countries.
Fr Leonard Chiti Sj, Provincial the Jesuits in Zambia/Malawi said: “Unless Zambia’s debt is forgiven, the majority of its population will continue to struggle to put food on the table, access good healthcare and provide quality education for its children. I urge the international community particularly the IMF and the World Bank to cancel Zambia’s debt.”
The letter to the leaders of the World Bank and IMF calling on them to cancel the debts of the poorest countries has been signed by the British Provincial, Fr Damian Howard SJ and 23 other Provincials and senior Jesuits around the world. It has also gained a vast number of signatures from various leaders in the global Christian community. Read the letter here.
Fr Damian Howard SJ said: “The Jesuits, as part of the Catholic Church, are committed to concrete action to help the poor, especially at a time of grave international crisis. With others, we called for debt cancellation at the turn of the millennium and now, once again, we are calling for the debts of the poorest countries to be cancelled to free up resources to combat the pandemic. We hope and pray that those in charge of the world’s financial institutions will recognise that the common good is at stake and act accordingly.”
Jesuit Missions is also taking action to help those living in poor countries become more resilient to COVID-19, and your help is needed.
It has launched a petition asking the UK Government to make certain that funding is available for a COVID-19 vaccine in developing countries. While the vaccine will be important for all, it is those living in poorer countries that are more vulnerable to COVID-19, yet least likely to have access to a vaccine due to poor health facilities.
You can take action and sign the petition, here.
Please feel free to share the petition with your family, friends and colleagues.
Jesuit Missions Director, Paul Chitnis says: “The pandemic has highlighted the enormous inequality which exists for millions of people in the developing world. It is vital that the poorest people, often those most at risk from COVID-19 have preferential access to vaccinations so that they can fight the disease and build for the future.”
Your actions do make a difference, so far our Coronavirus campaign has been able to provide:
• Over 150,000 people with access to educational resources
• Over 7,000 families with food
• Over 5,000 people with medical assistance
You can continue to support our Coronavirus appeal here.
We thank our wonderful supporters for taking the time to pray, act and give during this pandemic.
“Love, overflowing with small gestures of mutual care, is also civic and political, and it makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world.” Laudato Si 231