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G20 must end tax haven secrecy, campaigners tell Sarkozy

French President Nicolas Sarkozy faces a global campaign demanding that the G20 commits to ending tax haven secrecy when it meets in Cannes, France later this year.

Organisations behind the campaign, which was launched at the World Social Forum in Dakar today, include Christian Aid, ActionAid, Tax Justice Network Africa and Inspiraction (Spain).

By visiting the websites of participating agencies, those wanting to add their voices will be able to email President Sarkozy, who is this year’s G20 host, as well as other G20  leaders, demanding that effective action to end tax haven secrecy is firmly on the G20 agenda.

‘We hope many thousands of campaigners will demand an end to the huge suffering which tax haven secrecy currently causes, especially in developing countries,’ said Dr David McNair, Senior Economic Justice Adviser at Christian Aid.

‘G20 countries between them have the power to force tax havens to stop keeping the secrets of people and companies who dodge tax, pay or receive bribes and launder money.’

Tax dodging by some unscrupulous companies operating internationally costs developing countries more than they receive in aid. Christian Aid estimates this to be around US$160bn each year – money which should be funding schools, hospitals and other vital public services.

Chris Jordan, Tax Justice Campaigner at ActionAid, said: ‘Removing the secrecy havens offer would make tax dodging dramatically more difficult and enable governments in poorer countries to determine just how much they are losing by way of tax revenues, and take the appropriate action.’

Visitors to www.endtaxhavensecrecy.org will be able to send the following message to Nicolas Sarkozy, David Cameron and Nick Clegg:

‘Please take effective action on tax haven secrecy at the G20 in November 2011.

‘Global tax losses amount to over a hundred billion dollars per year at a time when the global financial crisis has prompted severe cuts in states’ budgets around the world.

‘Developing countries lose more to tax dodging each year than they receive in aid.

‘The G20 nations must take action now to end this injustice by agreeing on measures to end tax haven secrecy.

‘I call upon you to show global leadership in 2011.’

The full list of organisations involved in the campaign is: Christian Aid (UK), Tax Justice Network Africa, Tax Justice Network (UK), Global Financial Integrity (US), Inspiraction (Spain), Action Aid (UK), Oxfam International, CCFD Terre Solidaire (France), CRBM (Italy) and Eurodad (a coalition of European organisations).

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To interview Christian Aid tax justice campaigners at the World Social Forum in Dakar, or in London, and for more information, please contact Rachel Baird on 0207 523 2446 or rbaird@christian-aid.org


Notes to Editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the lives they deserve.

2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. Our report, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end poverty.  Details at http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/poverty-over-report.pdf

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 100 churches and church-related organisations that work together inhumanitarian assistance and development.  Further details at http://www.actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.org.uk