Campaigners call for cancellation of Haiti's debts

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15 Jan 2010 23:02:58 GMT

Source: Reuters

LONDON, Jan 15 (Reuters) - The international community should write off Haiti's remaining debt to help the impoverished Caribbean island rebuild after this week's earthquake, development campaigners said on Friday.

The Jubilee Debt Campaign, which says that debt repayments and loan conditions cripple economic development in poor countries, also criticised the International Monetary Fund for lending more funds to Haiti this week.

"Haiti's dire poverty has been built on centuries of injustice perpetrated against the country by the rich world. It is time for our part of the world to pay its debt to Haiti," the campaign's director, Nick Dearden, said.

"That means full cancellation of all of Haiti's debts and large grant funding."

Dearden said it was "completely inappropriate" for international institutions such as the IMF to be making new loans which would only saddle Haiti with more debt.

The IMF said on Thursday it would increase Haiti's existing loan programme by $100 million to help it recover from the earthquake.

Haiti received $1.2 billion debt relief from the IMF and World Bank last year, but campaigners say it still has more than $600 million in debt on its books.

"Not only is lending the wrong solution for Haiti, but the IMF's loans come with conditions," the JDC said. "Haiti is still suffering as a result of conditions applied to its economy in the past." (Reporting by Matt Falloon, editing by Tim Pearce)

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