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Published on 17 June 2021

Looking back over six months of action against debt injustice

Some of the world’s richest banks have made a fortune over the last year, profiting during the pandemic, while funds are being drained from the poorest countries in the world.

Meanwhile, in developing countries, COVID-19 is leaving a trail of devastation - from widespread loss of life from the virus itself, to huge economic disruption - which could push millions of people into extreme poverty. And yet these countries have still had to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars in debt interest payments to rich private banks. 

At the beginning of this year, we decided to turn our attention to private banks in our fight against debt injustice. You joined us, and together we demanded that they cancel the debt, fund the vaccine and save lives.  

We asked you to send an email to the CEOs of four major banks and speculators that hold a lot of debt with the world’s poorest countries: UBS, Blackrock, HSBC and JP Morgan. Thousands of you responded, and we bombarded the inbox of each CEO urging them to do the right thing.  

When that wasn’t enough, we decided to make sure they saw our message loud and clear.  

"Cancel the debt" displayed on an electronic billboard

When they still didn’t listen, you didn’t stop. We stood in solidarity and protested outside the HSBC AGM this June.

We made sure they knew we were there by attending the AGM ourselves, and asking the CEO directly what HSBC plans to do about this injustice.  

Protesters holding a long banner with the words "Cancel the debt" printed on to it

Change will come

Alongside your efforts, we continue to put pressure behind the scenes on the UK Government to put legislation in place protecting countries that can’t afford to pay their debt from being taken to court.

Whilst we haven’t got the answers we want just yet, we've ensured that the debt crises is still on the agenda of private banks, the UK Government and at the recent G7 summit in Cornwall. And we will continue to stand in solidarity against debt injustice until we do. 

Remember that campaigning is a long game. Change will come, but it’s important to celebrate and recognise our incredible collective efforts along the way.  

Want to take action?

Email the chancellor and call for action.