On Tuesday Tearfund, a Christian relief and development agency, handed in 10,000 postcards to the UK Chancellor from supporters calling for the UK Government to tackle corruption through Publish What You Pay legislation in the EU.
Thousands of Christians signed Tearfund’s Unearth the Truth postcards, calling for greater transparency among extractives companies working in developing countries where lucrative business contracts often do little to improve the lives of local people. Representing the people who had signed up to Unearth the Truth at New Wine, Director of New Wine John Coles delivered some of the 10,000 postcards to the Treasury, where he met with Treasury Minister David Gauke MP.
“We told the Treasury that this strong response simply reflects the fact that Christians are committed to reversing social injustice and are tired of business as usual,” said John Coles. “Jesus said… ‘there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, nothing hidden that will not be made known.’
“Tearfund’s campaign shines a light on what is often the murky world of extractives industry operations in the developing world. At New Wine, we’re passionate about justice and a better deal for poorer communities so we couldn’t fail to support it.”
Unearth the Truth urges the UK Government and the European Union (EU) to bring robust legislation that requires companies to publish what they pay to developing country governments for mining, gas and oil contracts.
“If local people were better able to hold their own governments to account, they would benefit from better education, health care and local services, but in many countries that’s just not possible because companies and governments keep their financial payments secret,” says Paul Cook, Tearfund’s Advocacy Director.
“We need to see laws that will enforce transparency and make it compulsory for extractive operations to publish what they pay to all governments. This will bring greater accountability, integrity and legitimacy to the sector.
“Tearfund is immensely grateful for the support of New Wine and the help of so many people taking part in this campaign.”
Further information about the Unearth the Truth campaign can be found at www.tearfund.org/unearth
Notes for Editors
In 2008 exports of oil, gas and minerals from Africa were worth roughly nine times the value of international aid to the continent ($393 billion vs. $44 billion).
In Africa alone, the cost of corruption has been estimated at US$ 148 billion a year – or $5,000 a second – representing a quarter of Africa’s GDP.
*Tearfund report: Corruption and It’s Discontents – Assessing the impact of people living in poverty http://tilz.tearfund.org/Research/Governance+and+Corruption
Tearfund is a member of the Publish What You Pay coalition of agencies calling for greater transparency in the extractives sector: http://www.publishwhatyoupay.org/
Ask MPs to show Chancellor George Osborne your support for getting corporations to publish what they pay. www.tearfund.org/actfast
For interviews or further information contact Jonathan Spencer on 020 8943 7901 or 07767 473516 (out of hours call 07710 573749).
Tearfund is a Christian relief and development agency building a global network of local churches to help eradicate poverty. Tearfund is a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee.