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Churches lead efforts for trade justice during Global Week of Action

31 March 2005

Churches and church-related organizations around the world are leading events during the Global Week of Action on Trade, 10-16 April 2005.

Actions are being planned in over 70 countries, involving faith groups and civil society organizations. Campaigners are challenging the myth that free trade helps to reduce poverty and are calling for changes in international trade rules to safeguard the rights of all people.

A petition calling for international trade policies that put human rights, the environment and economic justice first, will be presented to officials at the World Trade Organization in Geneva by a delegation representing the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance on 13 April.

The delegation, led by Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, will present the Trade for People petition signed by over 180 religious leaders and discuss with officials its main challenges to current international trade policies and practices.

National events focus on trade issues close to home. Church-related events include ecumenical and interfaith worship services, trade tribunals, grain marches (where marchers carry grain to a symbolic location), demonstrations for peace and justice, educational seminars, "unjust" football matches, and letter-writing campaigns.

An initial list of faith-based events can be found at

www.e-alliance.ch/gwa.jsp

For more information on the Global Week of Action, including a media brief, country and daily listings of events, press contacts for national campaigns, quotes and more, see

www.april2005.org/media

The Trade for People Petition, including a running list of signatures, is available at

Media contact: Sara Speicher +44-1524-727-651 media@e-alliance.ch

The Global Week of Action on Trade is endorsed by the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance as part of its Trade for People Campaign. The Alliance is a broad international network of over 90 churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on global trade and HIV and AIDS. Website: www.e-alliance.ch