A Note from the Global Aids Alliance

Dr. Paul Zeitz, executive director of the Global AIDS Alliance, will fast on Debt & AIDS Day, Wednesday, October 10 and he is asking you to join with him!

Why?
Many countries are paying $100 million a day in debt repayments. When debt cancellation happens funds that were normally used to pay back debt can instead be redirected to what really matters: free healthcare, education without user fees, retention of health care workers, and many other social services that the people of the Global South need.

Your member of Congress needs to hear from you! Global AIDS Alliance, Jubilee USA Network, and the Student Global AIDS Campaign have come together on October 10 for Debt & AIDS Day during the Cancel Debt Fast.

The Cancel Debt Fast is a 40-day rolling fast with more than 10,000 participants nationwide. Fasters are contacting their member of Congress and urging them to support the Jubilee Act HR 2634, which cancels the debts of 67 impoverished countries -without harmful economic conditionalities – in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The link between debt, health care and AIDS is a strong one.
In order for 67 impoverished countries to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 debt needs to be cancelled. One of those goals is to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. With money freed from debt relief countries can redirect their spending toward:
canceling clinic fees and charges for much-need medications
expanding health facilities to rural areas
hiring more health care providers and
providing more direct care for women and children.

WHY DEBT CANCELLATION?
Removing economic conditions from debt cancellation, such as those requiring impoverished countries to privatize much-needed resources or freeze all hiring and salaries for health care workers, would further enable these countries to channel resources toward poverty alleviation.

THE JUBILEE ACT
The Jubilee Act, HR2634, will improve lending behavior and expand debt cancellation, a proven means of fighting poverty, to all the impoverished countries that need it to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

This legislation calls for more transparent and responsible behavior by creditors as well as expended debt cancellation for all 67 countries that need it to meet the MDGs, without imposing harmful economic conditions. Only 40 countries are eligible under current debt relief schemes, and of those 40, only 20 have actually had their debts cancelled.

The Jubilee USA Network and its partner organizations are currently working to bring this bill to a hearing the House Financial Services Committee and to introduce a companion bill in the Senate.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN DEBT IS CANCELLED
Burundi was able to eliminate school fees in 2005, allowing an additional 300,000 children to gain access to education. In Zambia, 4,500 new teachershave been hired and fees for rural health care have been abolished since 2006.

All of us in the social justice community know that when children are educated they have a better chance of protecting themselves against HIV/AIDS, especially girls. Education gives them tools they need to work against oppressive power dynamics in their everyday lives.

GET ACTIVE!
October 10, 2007 is the day of action; here is a short list of ideas on how to act!

1. Contact your Senator by phone, fax, or letter urging them to support the Jubilee Act. Scroll down for a call script.
2. Visit your Senator and discuss Global AIDS and Debt.
3. Send a letter to the editor of local papers about Debt & AIDS.
4. Fill out paper plates for Jubilee USA’s paper plate campaign. Hundreds of paper plates are filling Jubilee’s national office in Washington DC. Join the cause and click here for instructions!
5. Sign up to fast for a day or more from food, sweets, shopping, or any other luxury that you enjoy that our brothers and sisters in the global south are denied at http://www.jubileeusa.org.

Calling Democrats:
I am calling today to urge Senator________ to help support and co-sponsor a senate version of the Jubilee Act HR. 2634, which will be introduced into the Senate very soon. This bill is important for people living with HIV/AIDS because when debt is canceled money becomes free to invest in resources in health care, education and other important social services and as a constituent this is important to me. Without debt cancellation 67 countries will not be able to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) one of which is to halt and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Calling Republicans:(We need a Republican sponsor in the Senate – top priorities are: Senators Norman Coleman (R-MN), John Sununu (R-NH), and Richard Lugar (R-IN)
I am calling today to urge Senator ______ to help introduce a senate version of the Jubilee Act HR. 2634. This bill is important for people living with HIV/AIDS because when debt is canceled money becomes free to invest in resources such as health care, education and other important social services and as a constituent this is important to me. Without debt cancellation 67 countries will not be able to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) one of which is to halt and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Thank you for all that you do,

Mary Peterson
Grassroots Coordinator
Global AIDS Alliance

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