June 29, 2010

World leaders urged to listen to the poor and vulnerable

by David Masters

Religious leaders urged politicians at the G8 summit in Canada this weekend to listen to the voices of the weak and vulnerable.

The 80 senior leaders representing nine faiths – Christian, Aboriginal, Bahai, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Shinto, and Sikh – said the G8 must do everything it can to ensure the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are achieved.

The MDGs are eight social development and poverty alleviation goals that governments have committed to achieve by 2015.

MDGs include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, universal primary education, and reducing child mortality.

“Military power and economic dominance are the basis for inclusion in a G8 and G20 global leaders’ summit,” a statement from the faith leaders read.

It continued: “The voices of the other 172 members of the United Nations are absent.

“In our faith traditions, we strive to listen to the weak and the vulnerable.

“Their voices must be included in decisions that affect them and all of us.”

The statement called for immediate action to meet the needs of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

The G8 should prioritise environmental sustainability, and work to remove factors that cause violent conflict.

“In our diverse faith traditions we have rich histories and powerful dreams for ending poverty, caring for the Earth and being peace-builders,” the faith leaders said.

Leaders who signed the statement include Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, and Rev D. Andre Karamaga, General Secretary of the All Africa Conference of Churches.

“The suffering of anyone is of concern to us all,” they statement concluded.

“Our prayers and wishes for wisdom and compassion are with our political leaders at this critical moment.”

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