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DEBT CAMPAIGNERS HAVE G8'S ISLAND HIDEAWAY 'VIRTUALLY' SURROUNDED
'virtual human chain' of protest around the G8 meeting
from Nick Buxton, jubilee2000uk.org 20 July 2000
Jubilee 2000 Press Release
As the leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) richest nations meet this weekend (July 21 - 23) on a remote Pacific Island, they will be surrounded by a 'virtual human chain' of protest. The location for their annual get-together is Okinawa, surrounded by shark-infested waters.
Ann Pettifor, Director of Jubilee 2000 said, "The debt crisis is an emergency that can't wait. Every day 19,000 children die because their governments have to spend money paying debts rather than on basic services like health care and clean water. This is a historic moment. The G8 must act decisively this weekend and end the debt crisis. The eyes of the world are on them to make sure they don't fail once again."
"The world's leaders are lying low- and who can blame them as they've failed to deliver on the debt cancellation promises they made last year. But people the world over can link up to events using the internet - and send messages to the G8 leaders telling them to 'drop the debt'. Jubilee 2000 supportes may not be able to get there in person but will be part of a virtual human chain. On the internet, Okinawa is only a click away."
A website, coordinated by Jubilee 2000, (www.summitwatch.net) carries details of hundreds of Summit Watch events worldwide. Churches, Jubilee 2000 groups and others from Bangladesh to Jersey are holding concerts, vigils, human chains, club nights and other imaginative Drop the Debt events.
The Summit Watch website allows communities around the world to link-up on the debt issue and will carry up-to-the-minute coverage of the events in Okinawa, including the latest official information, comment and analysis by Jubilee 2000, video clips and news about Summit Watch events worldwide.
In the weeks leading up to the G8 summit, campaigners have sent over 200,000 e-mails to the world leaders calling on them to drop the debt. Internet activity will reach a peak on Friday July 21, dubbed 'Net the Debt Day', when thousands of Jubilee 2000 activists will take part in one last virtual push, urging the G8 leaders to cancel 100% of the debts of the poorest countries.
One of the other major topics to be discussed at the G8 summit is the 'digital divide', looking at the potential opportunities and drawbacks of new technology. Ann Pettifor said "The thousands of children who die every day of hunger cannot eat cybercake. The G8 need to tackle the cause of the wealth divide - which is debt."
For more information contact: In Okinawa: Nick Buxton +81 (0) 90 7639 4251 In Tokyo: Lucy Matthew +81 (0) 90 7717 7701 In London: Marco Kuntze 020 7739 1000 ext 223 (on internet activities) In London: Sarah Finch 020 7739 1000 ext 229 or mobile 07970 175324 (general enquiries) www.dropthedebt.org and www.jubilee2000uk.org
Note: After a year of promises from the G8, not one country has had any debt cancelled, and only nine of 41 have had limited relief. In the countries where the majority of people live in extreme poverty, up to 60% of GNP is used to service external debts
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