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Global Initiative Plans Vigils to End Corruption

Organizations and partners representing millions of people across the globe have issued an open letter challenging the world’s government, financial institutions and church leaders to act decisively and quickly on corruption, one of the main causes of global poverty today, and to include the poor in the creation of a fairer system for all.
Exposed, the global call to action against corruption in all its forms, has issued the letter in the run up to its “week of action” (Oct. 14-20) when, across the world, people will be gathering for vigils to “shine a light” on corruption and signing a petition, which will be handed to the G20 next year.

The open letter, signed by the Exposed steering group on behalf of 25 global partners, represents the views of millions of people across the world in 150 countries.

“As Christian people determined to see an end to the scourge that is corruption, Exposed and its partners believe that in 2013 the world should be ashamed that so many people are blighted by dire poverty, and action is required now,” said Joel Edwards, international coordinator of Exposed.

While recognizing some of the good work recently undertaken on the international stage to recognize the detrimental effects that corruption has on the world, the open letter maintains that the discussion has to go beyond financial and government transparency to “ensure multi-national corporations pay their fair dues in tax in the countries where they earn their profits.”

“We understand that rich nations want to collect missing tax because times are hard. But poor nations have an even bigger stake in making systems fairer and they need to be part of the discussions to ensure equity,” the open letter said.

The Exposed partners challenge government, financial and business institutions and church leaders across the globe to step up their efforts to make the world a fairer place but reminds them not to forget “those who are most affected by greed and abuse of public influence – the poorest people of our world.”

They call on global leaders to include the poorer nations in decision making, which is crucial to their futures.

“Consensus on financial transparency is vital, as is international collaboration to ensure that corruption in all its forms is exposed and dealt with. But the poor can’t wait for years of deliberation and diplomacy. …This is not just about ‘rich countries’ making changes to improve their tax income or making improvements which may, eventually, benefit ‘poor countries.’ It is about justice. The time has come to stop patronizing the poor,” the letter read.

During its “Global Week of Action” from Oct. 14-20, Exposed will be “shining a light on corruption” with up to 2,000 vigils across the world. In London, the “Week of Action” was marked with a vigil on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London on Oct. 14.

During this week, Exposed will call the world to sign “The Global Call to End Corruption,” a petition pressing for more open tax regimes and greater transparency in payments to combat bribery and tax avoidance.

Exposed is aiming for 1 million signatures on the “Global Call,” which will be presented to world leaders before the G20 Summit to be held in Brisbane in November 2014. The Global Call can be signed online.

You can read the full text of the open letter to government, business and church leaders here.

A version of this article first appeared in The Baptist Times of Great Britain and is used with permission.