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Requiem for the World Bank's Victims

Requiem for the World Bank's Victims

Danish demonstrators organise a happening on death during the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Prague on September 24 and 26

Twenty dark copper masks on 4-metre-high poles shrouded in black, a 5-metre-high female Messenger from the South and a Pillar of Shame made of distorted faces, these are some of the ingredients in a funeral procession performed by the Danish Jubilee 2000 supporters. Artist Jens Galschiot and his people, along with thousands of Jubilee 2000 supporters in corpse costumes and carrying crosses, will help to highlight the responsibility of the IMF, the World Bank and the rich countries for the victims of globalisation: 7 million children die each year as a result of the way the rich countries undermine social development in the poorest countries, according to the United Nations.

The G-8 meeting in Japan in June this year was a demonstration of the lack of will of the largest economies to find a solution to the debt crisis of the developing countries. Jubilee 2000 must now therefore turn to the IMF and World Bank to exert pressure on them directly and on the governments of the rich countries. These institutions have blocked debt cancellation with far too severe economic conditions, and for the past 10 years have increased poverty by imposing heavy-handed and unsuccessful economic reforms on the poorest countries. The IMF and the World Bank still refuse to acknowledge their responsibility for the debt crisis and therefore allow donor countries like Denmark to buy their way out of debt cancellation with aid funds.

During the financial crisis in Asia, the IMF and the World Bank raised more than 150 billion dollars in a few months. Now they claim that they cannot afford to cancel the outstanding debt owed directly to them by the poorest countries, even though the debt is worth only 25-40 billion dollars. Rich countries like Denmark should not use aid funds to pay for debt cancellation by the World Bank and IMF, but should demand that the institutions themselves cancel the debt for the abortive loans, states Bo Tovby Joergensen, campaign leader for Jubilee 2000 in Denmark.

With the demonstrations in Prague, Jubilee 2000 will also highlight the injustice of the IMF and the World Bank acting as judge, jury and plaintiff when it comes to debt cancellation, which has an impact on more than 1 billion impoverished people.

The WTO, IMF and the World Bank have global influence, but they primarily look after the interests of the rich countries. We must do everything to correct this democratic imbalance says artist Jens Galschiot.

Jubilee 2000 believes that the media's interest in potential violence during the demonstrations helps to create unnecessary fear and distract attention from the groups who, in a serious and non-violent manner, try to highlight important issues, such as the role of the IMF and the World Bank in solving the debt crisis of the developing countries. These groups make up the vast majority of the demonstrators. Jubilee 2000's events during the summit in Prague have been prepared in cooperation with the Czech authorities, the police and local organisations.

The demonstrations will be held in Prague on Sunday 24 September and Tuesday 26 September. Jens Galschiot's sculpture will be set up in Letna Park on the banks of the Moldau (Yltava).

For more information contact: Jens Galschiot, Art in Defence of Humanism, tel.: +45 6618 4058, mobile in Prague: (+45) 2193 7041

Pictures of the preparations of the happening can be obtained from: www.aidoh.dk

Danish Jubilee activists in Prague: Mobile (+45) 2062 8901 and (+45) 4054 8173

The Danish film team following Jens Galschiot and the activists in Prague: Niels Madsen, tel.: +45 40 215 415

Lars Koch, Jubilee 2000 in Denmark tel.: +45 3535 8788, mobile: +45 4010 5208

More information on our sculptures in Prague available on: http://www.aidoh.dk/art_and_events/messenger/ukmsg-index.htm

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