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Aid money hijacked for War on Terror – new report

Press statement Thursday, 21 September 2006 For immediate release

Aid money hijacked for War on Terror – new report

An independent review of international aid says that the US war on terror has resulted in billions of dollars of aid money being diverted way from the world’s poorest people.

The Reality of Aid 2006, which focuses on conflict, development and security cooperation, is being launched today in Wellington by the Council for International Development.

According to the report, produced by the Reality of Aid – a coalition of international non-governmental organizations, nearly half a billion people in the poorest regions of the world are worse off now than they were in 1990.

This is despite the international goal agreed to at the 2000 Millennium Summit to halve extreme poverty by 2015.

Council for International Development Executive Director Rae Julian says the report highlights a depressing global situation - since September 2001 the international goals of poverty eradication guided by human rights have been sidelined for the war on terror.

“As well as aid dollars being diverted from the world’s poorest regions and into strategic military zones such as Afghanistan, nearly one third of new aid money has been hijacked for almost limitless amounts of human, financial and military resources to prevent further terrorist attacks.”

“This is disastrous for people in places such as parts of sub-Saharan Africa where nearly half the children don’t survive to see their fifth birthday.”

Ms Julian says that New Zealand, despite its size, has an opportunity to take a principled stand to honour its commitment and set a timetable to give 0.7 percent of national income in aid by 2015.

“New Zealand provides good quality aid guided by principles of alleviating poverty, long term sustainability, and human rights. However, we fall down badly in the amount of aid we give – a mere 0.27 percent of national income – near the bottom of the OECD.”

“Our Government needs to take a strong position in what is becoming an increasingly critical situation. We need to give, not only quality aid, but also our fair share of aid.”

The Reality of Aid report for 2006 is being launched at the 4 pm at the Centre for Global Action, James Smiths Building, corner Manners Mall and Cuba St, Wellington.

Speaking at the launch will be Radio and TV presenter and member of the UN Face to Face Campaign, Stacey Morrison as well as Green MP Sue Kedgley.

ENDS

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