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Cancel Haiti’s debt

We have called on the Irish government to support the cancellation of Haiti’s unsustainable financial debt.

At a recent presentation to the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee, Concern urged the government to vote at a meeting of the International Monetary Fund for the cancellation of all debt for Haiti.

Grants not loans

We also advised that any disaster relief assistance to Haiti should be given in the form of grants and not loans, in order to reduce financial burden on the country. This was echoed in a strong statement by the Foreign Affairs Committee following the meeting.

No debt

Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, currently holds a debt of $800 million. This has accumulated due, in large part, to past loans by international lenders to Haitian dictatorships. The country’s ability to generate revenue and make its debt payments has been devastated by the recent earthquake.

To build a sustainable future, Haiti must be allowed to be free from debt and receive aid that does not create more debt.

Total cancellation

In June 2009, Haiti was granted a debt cancellation of $1.2 billion from its major creditors. But now, total debt cancellation is required. Tom Arnold, Concern’s CEO, spoke about this:

As well as immediate emergency support, Haiti needs the international community to assist in the sustainable redevelopment of the country; for this Haiti must begin debt free.

Support for Concern’s Haiti appeal has been exceptional, with donations of €5.3 million to date. People worldwide have shown extraordinary solidarity with the Haitian people, and it is inconceivable that there would be any expectation that Haiti could manage to pay €800 million in international debt.

All our efforts, and the efforts of the Haitians themselves, must be focused on rebuilding a better and stronger Haiti, and not giving with the one hand, and taking with the other.