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It is A Loud 'No' to Unfair Trade

Religious and civil rights organizations in Africa have commenced weeklong activities marking the Global Week of Action on Trade Justice, April 10-16, 2005.
13 April 2005 - CISA

Faiths and human rights groups in at least 15 African countries have organized weeklong events. These are: Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Egypt, Gambia, Ghana and Kenya. Other are Lesotho, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The campaign message this year is "NO to the rich and powerful imposing unjust trade agreements, indiscriminate liberalisation and privatisation on the poor; YES to everyone's right to food, a livelihood, water, health and education."

In Kenya, where churches have joined civil society organizations, events include ecumenical Worship (Sunday, April 10); Farmers Workshop -Eastern and southern Africa (April 11-13); and a media conference featuring bishops from diverse churches and countries (April 12).

A Justice and Peace Workshop for delegates from the eight countries of Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa (AMECEA) is also underway, in Kenya's capital Nairobi, April 10-14.

To illustrate the concept of unfairness in international trade, an unfair football match between the Premier League Mumias Football Club and a team of youth from Korogocho, a Nairobi city slum, is scheduled for 2:00 pm on Thursday, April 14, at the University of Nairobi grounds.

Other scheduled events include a public forum, a procession to the European Union offices in Nairobi, and a football match.

Christian Aid gives details of events taking place in various countries.

Mozambique marks the week with lectures, seminars and debates organised by the Coligação para a Justiça Economica involving students, NGOs, unions and women's groups.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Eglise du Christ au Congo is planning a media campaign in the country, a workshop for representatives of NGOs along with several members of parliament, and a day of reflection with business and economic students in Kinshasa. The campaign also aims at petitioning the government to take agriculture into account.

In Angola, events for April 8-19, planned by Liga Jubileu 2000 Angola (LiJuA) e Organizações parceiras, include a photography exhibition and meetings with commerce minister

A seminar on the effects of world trade agreements on textile industry, trade and workers was scheduled to take place on April 9-10 in Cairo, Egypt. The seminar, organized by the Center of Trade Union and Workers Services (CTUWS) with the Arab and African Research Center (AARC), would hear about the effect of free trade on textile workers and plan protest activities.

Lesotho held education events to mobilise communities in February 2005. In April they were to hold forums all over the country to mobilise communities for action against unjust trade, organized by Joining Hands Against Hunger Network - Lesotho.

In Nigeria, campaigners scheduled public lectures and radio talks for the entire week, preceded by a solidarity march and press conference and signing of a petition against trade injustice.

The week of events in Senegal include parliamentary meetings and trade justice caravans and concert, while Sierra Leone has prepared lobbying events, public forums and report launch. South Africa has scheduled an ecumenical service and mass march against liberalisation in the clothing industry in Cape Town on April 14, with other events in Kwazulu Natal including sending shoes to provincial ministers to protest the closure of the shoe industries because of trade liberalisation.

The Week of Events in Uganda includes workshops and street theatre all week, while in Zambia a million signature cotton campaign is in place, as well as ecumenical church services and marches against poverty.

In Zimbabwe, organizers have scheduled ecumenical services and a day of prayer on April 10, to be followed within the week by public meetings against the Economic and Partnership Agreement (EPA). Other events include a national conference and march for trade justice (April 13-14) and presentation of petitions.

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