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Press release

Monday 24th September, 2018

Global faith leaders urged to speak out against increasing violence and inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean

Faith communities must re-commit to speaking out against the systemic issues that lead to inequality, discrimination and violence in Latin America and the Caribbean, Christian Aid has said.

In a world where the language of faith is sometimes used to justify policies that exclude rather than welcome, ignore those living in abject poverty and cause inequalities that lead to extreme levels of violence in communities around the world, now is the time for faith leaders to recapture a heart for justice and stand with those who are oppressed.

The call comes as Christian Aid’s chair Dr Rowan Williams and its chief executive Amanda Khozi Mukwashi attend the 2018 G20 Interfaith Forum and the fourth High Level Dialogue on Ethics and Economy, which takes place 26-28 September in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Latin American and the Caribbean is a region in which inequalities based on identity, gender, economic situation or geographic location are deep and widespread. The increasing impact of climate change, the unpredictable political situation and rise in political polarisation in the region exacerbate the challenges to reducing structural inequality.

While the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have firmly placed the issue of inequality at the heart of development discourse, issues such as the disproportionate amount of power held by global multinationals make tackling it even more challenging to improve the lives of those communities in Latin America and the Caribbean – and also in many regions around the world - who face the everyday challenges of these inequalities.

Drawing on findings from Christian Aid’s report The Scandal of Inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean, the organisation highlights that women bear the brunt of inequalities in the region. They are more often victims of violence; fiscal systems are weighted against them; they are the most affected by climate change and have fewer opportunities for finding decent work.

“The multiple faces of inequality in Latin American and Caribbean societies remain an outrage, with women bearing the brunt of the discrimination,” said Amanda Khozi Mukwashi. “As a faith-based organisation we can no longer accept that the deep and pervasive inequalities faced by Latin American and Caribbean societies are a fact of life. We must ensure that faith institutions and other faith-based organisations are not complicit in the structural systems that blight the lives of those in poverty.”

Dr Rowan Williams said: “Latin America and the Caribbean has a long history of religious leaders such as Oscar Romero who have spoken out against poverty, oppression and violence and paid the ultimate price. Theirs is a vision of a world turned right-way-up and in which each of us is duty-bound therefore to speak out when we see the subjugation of another.

“With more than eight in 10 people in the world identifying with a religious group, faith leaders who share a vision for a just world must recognise the key role they play in condemning the way the poor and marginalised are treated in their communities and work tirelessly for the restoration of right relationships.”

This is the fifth annual event in a series of G20 Interfaith Forums and the fourth High Level Dialogue on Ethics and Economy and both take place ahead of the 13th G20 Summit taking place in Buenos Aires in November.

“The two interconnected events highlight the roles that religious communities can play in promoting the goals of successive G20 summits and to healing the damaged relationship between ethics and economy,” said Humberto Shikiya from Christian Aid partner the Ecumenical Regional Centre of Service and Advice (CREAS).

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. The Scandal of Inequality 2 was published by Christian Aid in March 2017. You can find the report here.

2. Christian Aid works in some of the world’s poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We are where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.


3. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.

4. Christian Aid is a member of ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development.

5. Follow Christian Aid’s newswire on Twitter.

6. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit www.christianaid.org.uk

For media enquiries, please contact Chine McDonald +447594 088 172 cmcdonald@christian-aid.org