A GLOBAL campaign to end corruption is calling on governments,
businesses, and church leaders to "stop patronising the poor" and
include them in discussions about creating a fairer world.
The campaign Exposed, an international coalition of Christian
groups and charities, was formed last year. Its week of action was
launched this week with an open letter and a vigil at St Paul's
Speaking at the vigil on Sunday, the Methodist minister the Revd
Lord Griffiths said: "Our job is to see that we overcome evil with
good. We expose the evil for what it is, and then set our targets
for overcoming that evil. I believe that this campaign is part of
an orchestrated effort on behalf of good-willed people around the
world to see that we have the kind of world that God wants us to
Everyone attending the vigil received a $1-trillion note,
representing the amount that is paid globally in bribes each year.
Up to 2000 vigils across the world were planned to mark the week of
action, including one at the White House, in Washington, D.C.
To mark the week of action, Exposed published an open letter, in
which it said: "We understand that rich nations want to collect
missing tax because times are hard. But poor nations . . . need to
be part of the discussions to ensure equity.
"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 patronising the poor."
Government, financial, and business institutions, and church
leaders are asked to step up their efforts to make the world a
fairer place, but must not forget "those who are most affected by
greed and abuse of public influence - the poorest people of our
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, this week promoted
Christian Aid's campaign for greater tax transparency, to help
uncover "phantom firms". The charity wants the Government to ensure
that public registers are created which reveal the true owners of
"No one likes paying taxes," Dr Morgan said, "but they are the
bedrock of a fairer and more equal society, both here in Wales and
in developing countries. Tax-dodging, particularly through the set
up of phantom companies, drives poverty and injustice."
Christian Aid has published new resources to help churches to
debate the issues around tax-dodging. The churches resources
manager at Christian Aid, Claire Aston, said: "We want churches to
recognise that the hard questions Jesus asked about taxation are
just as relevant to us today."