Christian Ecumencial Leaders Petition Global Trade Policies Systems to WTO

( [email protected] ) Apr 15, 2005 11:06 AM EDT

13 April, 2005, Christian ecumenical bodies cooperated to petition the global trade policies systems at a meeting with the representatives of the World Trade Organization in Geneva, WTO headquarters. An ecumenical delegation presented a petition requesting “change in the international rules and practices that govern trade.”

The petition, signed by over 264 Christian leaders world-wide, states, "We demand that our government and the governments of the world change the international rules and practices that govern trade so that they give priority to human rights and protection of the environment, and contribute to the eradication of poverty,”

According to Christian Post, Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia, the general secretary of the World Council of Churches, led the delegation in presenting the Trade for People Campaign on behalf of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance – an alliance of over 90 churches and Christian organizations worldwide.

Kobia stated, “Trade is not just a matter of economics but of faith" since "biblical standards for economic activity are justice and taking the side of the poor. We seek a world where global trade systems give priority to people who live in poverty."

Along with WCC, delegations representing World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and Lutheran World Federation and the World Young Women’s Christian Association, were also present to provide their stance and concerns.

General Secretary of WARC, Rev. Dr Setri Nyomi stressed that trade policies are often the source of concern for churches in impoverished nations.

"Every day, our pastors in towns and villages are accompanying people suffering as a consequence of trade policies and we want to ensure that the cries of those people are heard," Nyomi said.

In response to ecumenical delegations’ request upon receiving the petition, the WTO director for external relations, Alain Frank assured them that WTO shares same concerns. According to WCC news, since WTO “cannot do more than it is equipped to do,” Frank also called on the ecumenical leaders to address the petition to national governments and other UN-related agencies.

The petition was signed as part of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance’s Global Week of Action on Trade, which landed this year on April 10-16, according to Christian Post.