Two activists from the women-led peace group CodePink crashed a Tuesday afternoon debt restructuring panel during the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group annual meetings to demand that the international financial institutions “cancel all debts.”
CodePink organizers Olivia DiNucci and Nancy Mancias disrupted the “Debt Restructuring: Why Too Little and Too Late” session at the IMF’s Washington, D.C. headquarters.
The activists unfurled a banner imploring the institutions to “cancel all debts.” The women shouted “cancel all debt, reparations now,” even as they were removed from the venue by security personnel.
“The IMF and World Bank are loan sharks trapping countries into debt. We need localization and ecological sustainability for the people, planet, and peace,” said CodePink campaign organizer Nancy Mancias.
“We are calling on the IMF and World Bank to end its debt trap monetary practices which are causing countries to sink further down into economic crises,” she added. “We are calling on them to cancel all debt.”
In a statement, CodePink said that “the solution to stabilizing the global economy is not going to be found in debt restructuring but rather from debt cancellation.”
“The path to economic sovereignty for the Global South is not through the predatory loans offered by the IMF/World Bank,” the peace group added, “but instead through reparations of all wealth and resources that have been stolen from countries through colonization, illegal invasions, occupations, and extraction of oil, gas, and coal.”
Mancias said that activists from CodePink joined members of ShutDownDC and Debt for Climate “in the streets” protesting the IMF and World Bank.
“We demand the IMF and World Bank decolonize their practice for the people, for the planet, and for peace,” she asserted.
The CodePink protest came on the same day that the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) published a paper calling on rich countries to step up and deliver desperately needed debt relief to 54 developing nations that are home to more than half of the poorest people on the planet. Additionally, the agency noted that 28 of those 54 countries rank among the world’s 50 most climate-vulnerable nations.
UNDP said the paper—entitled Avoiding ‘Too Little Too Late’ on International Debt Relief—”highlights the ripple effects of government responses to the recent economic crisis, and the potential impacts.”
“Debt relief would be a small pill for wealthy countries to swallow, yet the cost of inaction is brutal for the world’s poorest,” UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner argued in a statement. “We cannot afford to repeat the mistake of providing too little relief, too late, in managing the developing economy debt burden.”
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