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27 September 2012

Churches to unite against corruption

Churches to unite against corruption

The Christian organisation, EXPOSED, is calling churches to stand against the corruption which ensures millions of people remain in poverty.

This international coalition of churches, businesses and organisations is launching a year-long awareness building campaign starting on 11 October, which will culminate in a week-long Global Vigil against Corruption from 14-20 October 2013.

The international co-ordinator of EXPOSED Dr Dion Forster explained why they feel corruption is such a big problem: “Every year well over $1 trillion goes missing through mismanagement, illicit business practices and poor governance.

“It doesn't have to be this way. This money doesn’t just evaporate - it is actually deducted from the livelihood of some of the poorest people in the world.”

It was found, in a report by Global Financial Integrity, that corruption and tax evasion cost the developing world around $903 billion in 2009.

The launch on Thursday, 11 October, at Central Hall Westminster will focus on communicating to partners and the media how EXPOSED plan to mobilise millions of people across the world to promote ethical practices in businesses, governments, the Church and society as a whole.

EXPOSED’s partners include Micah Challenge International, the Bible Society of the United Kingdom, the Bible Society of North America, The Salvation Army, Unashamedly Ethical and the World Evangelical Alliance.

While aiming to empower governments and communities to make ethical decisions and to combat corruption through international protocols, EXPOSED also wants to encourage individuals to become more accountable in their own behaviour.

Over the year, individuals will be asked to sign the Global Call, which will be presented at the G20 summit in 2014, to remind leaders to make an effort for transparency and accountability, to prevent bribery and tax avoidance, and to encourage them to create enforceable laws.

EXPOSED is not the only campaign putting pressure on governments to tackle corruption, it has become a key issue for many charities.

Through their Unearth the Truth campaign Tearfund are urging the European Council to commit to transparency laws which will allow communities to hold their governments to account over the proceeds from selling countries’ natural resources.

Christian Aid’s Tax Justice Bus continues to tour England in an effort to unite people against tax dodging which costs developing countries an estimated $160 billion every year.

Rev Joel Edwards, the chair of EXPOSED (and international director of their partner the Micah Challenge), said: “Our job is to provide a forum in which 100 million Christians will remind us and the world of God’s passion for the poor.

“We want people to become advocates and practitioners of justice to help shine a light on corruption wherever it is present, to ensure integrity is established or restored in financial and political systems, and resources are shared equitably so that everyone has the opportunity to flourish.”