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Caritas asks global community to forgive debt for poor countries, develop programs instead


Caritas Internationalis launched their Annual Report via Zoom asking for forgiveness of debt and space for a new global future, especially in the Middle East. 

One country in particular is a hub for humanitarian work in the region: Lebanon. The director of Caritas in the country explains they are in the midst of two pandemics: COVID-19 and hunger. 

RITA RHAYEM
Director of Caritas Lebanon
“Our presence here, and thanks to Caritas Internationalis is a call to the international community to see beyond the economic crisis and look to the humanitarian crisis that has emerged and that will impact all the region, especially now with the economic sanctions and the debt.”

Rhayem explained their currency is losing 80 percent of its value and donors are no longer able to help them. This comes at a time when they have triple the beneficiaries they had before COVID-19.

Pope Francis also spoke about this crisis at the end of June. 

POPE FRANCIS
Angelus, June 28, 2020
Particularly Lebanon, in the context of serious socio-political and economic crises that pandemic has been made even more difficult. Think: there are hungry children who have nothing to eat.

The president of Caritas South Africa also appealed to the international community, saying Africa is unable to become a global player for one reason.

CARD. WILFRID FOX NAPIER
President of Caritas South Africa
“That handicap is international debt, which has already been mentioned. Which even at the best of times, is a severe restraint on Africa's growth and development. Almost every where you go in Africa, the major restraint to effective action against COVID-19 is the inability to access the know how, material and other resources known to be effective in dealing with the pandemic.”

Thus, Caritas' Secretary-General appealed to the G20. He asked them to cancel international debt for the poorest nations and reallocate the money for development and faith programs, which Caritas Internationalis is currently trying to foster.  

Melissa Butz