Social protests against cuts in development aid in Spain

The Spanish Alliance Against Poverty, a coalition of social and development-oriented NGOs and churches, and joined by Spanish trade unions CCOO, UGT and USO, “rejects the general government budget as being unfair, disproportionate and lacking in solidarity. Approving the general budget would mean violating the social and political consensus set out in the National Pact Against Poverty, as signed by all of the political parties in 2007 and which set a goal for 2012 of having 0.7% of GNP allocated to development aid, and the goal – as set out in the National Reform Programme – of having Spain reduce the risk of poverty and exclusion”.

The Coordinating Committee of Development Cooperation NGOs, which also includes organisations in this sector promoted by the unions, said the following about the cut in development aid: “It is not a question of pitting some people against others, but of guaranteeing basic social services and human rights, regardless of where they were born or live. The current crisis is global, as are its consequences. What happens in one place has an impact on the rest of the planet. It is precisely for this reason that, now more than ever, we must give priority to maintaining public policies which guarantee pensions, education, health, employment, etc., both in Spain and abroad.

Guaranteeing these public policies is possible. The funds for these purposes can be obtained by balancing budget items such as the funds allocated for military expenditure or investments in rescuing financial institutions. There are very real options. What we cannot do, under any circumstances, is to choose between some people and others, and therefore face those who are suffering more directly from the consequences of the crisis even though, paradoxically, they did not create it. As a development NGO, committed to social justice and having a broad range of action in this regard, we believe that doing so would mean forgetting our ethical and political responsibility in view of the growing levels of poverty and inequality in our society and in the world.”

Article provided by USO-SOTERMUN.