Foreign aid cuts would damage U.S. interests

WASHINGTON, D.C. July 27, 2011 — House Republican appropriators today continued their assault on U.S. international efforts to reduce poverty, address climate change, and respond to famine and other disasters. This comes a week after the House Foreign Affairs Committee also sought to gut core development accounts.

“These cuts will not only harm U.S. national interests, they will have a huge impact on the lives of those who are already marginalized in the poorest corners of the earth,” said Samuel A. Worthington, president and CEO of InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based international NGOs.

He added: “The argument that a nation with an annual GDP of $14.6 trillion cannot afford to invest a fraction of 1% of that to proactively work to build a safer, more prosperous world, and to fully fund desperately needed humanitarian activity, is simply false.”

Some of the deepest cuts suggested by appropriators today include:

• USAID Operating Expenses slashed  by 27% to $982.5 million (was $1.3 billion in FY11)

• Overall poverty-focused international development and humanitarian assistance cut by 13% to $13.95 billion (was $15.95 billion in FY11)

• Development Assistance cut by 18% to $2.1 billion (was $2.5 billion in FY11)

• International Disaster Assistance: cut by 12% to $758 million (was $863 million in FY11, $1.3 billion in FY10 including emergency funding);

• Contributions to multilateral efforts to combat climate change: Cut to zero from $248 million in FY11, $388 million in FY10.

“With the worst drought in 60 years hitting parts of the Horn of Africa, these cuts amount to the U.S. turning its back on its own strategic interests and walking away from long held international commitments.   For America’s own good and for those around the world who look to the U.S. for leadership, we need to do better,” said Worthington.

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InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based nongovernmental international organizations, with more than 190 members. Our members operate in every developing country, working with local communities to overcome poverty and suffering by helping to improve their quality of life. Visit www.interaction.org

DECLARACIÓN DE LOS OBISPOS CATÓLICOS EN LA REUNIÓN REGIONAL SOBRE MIGRACIÓN

DECLARACIÓN DE LOS OBISPOS CATÓLICOS Y PARTICIPANTES EN LA REUNIÓN REGIONAL SOBRE MIGRACIÓN

(CENTROAMÉRICA, NORTEAMÉRICA Y CARIBE)

(San José, Costa Rica) — Nosotros, Obispos católicos responsables de las comisiones de movilidad humana reunidos en San José, Costa Rica, del 1 al 3 de junio de 2011, unidos a religiosos, religiosas, laicos, laicas, participantes de CELAM y de Cáritas Internacional, comprometidos con la realidad migratoria, expresamos nuestra solidaridad con nuestros hermanos y hermanas que migran en busca de una mejor vida en esta región.

Testigos del gran sufrimiento que viven las personas migrantes de nuestros países y regiones, quienes son víctimas de explotación y abuso por parte de varios actores (funcionarios públicos, empleadores sin escrúpulos y organizaciones criminales), nuevamente exigimos a nuestros gobiernos hacerse responsables de la protección legal a los y las migrantes, incluyendo a quienes buscan trabajo, solicitan asilo, refugio y han sido víctimas de Trata de Personas. Pedimos especial atención y protección para familias, mujeres y niños. Read the rest of this entry »

Faith leaders unite to protect the poor in budget debate

Diverse Coalition Unites to Protect Poor People in Budget Debate

InterAction joins faith leaders and others in endorsing the principle that budgets are ‘Moral Documents’

(Washington, D.C.) July 1, 2011 — At a critical juncture in the deficit reduction talks a diverse coalition of over 40 prominent international and domestic NGOs have joined the leaders of dozens of national faith organizations in calling on the Obama administration and congressional leadership to protect programs benefitting poor and hungry people both here and abroad from budget cuts.

“Attempting to balance the budget on the backs of the world’s poor betrays our nation’s values and hurts our interests. Fully funding these programs is the right thing to do and the wisest path to long-term prosperity, security and budget health,” stated Samuel A. Worthington, InterAction’s president and CEO.

In an open letter to policymakers involved in defect reduction negotiations these groups expressed support for six principles first outlined by a group of faith leaders known as the Circle of Protection coalition, saying:

“…we believe the moral measure of the [budget] debate is how the most vulnerable among us fare. Poor and hungry people do not have powerful lobbies, but they do have the most compelling claim on our national conscience and common resources. As people of conscience we have an obligation to defend this claim in civic discourse, to join with others to insist that programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world are protected.”

View the full text of the letter, including the six principles, hereRead the rest of this entry »